Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa. File photo: Sizwe Ndingane

Johannesburg - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Wednesday called on the Western Cape community of Khayelitsha to report those who kill police officers and not to harbour them.

“We are under no illusion that all of us as law-abiding citizens have a protracted war ahead of us... a war that has been declared by heartless criminals on our men and women in blue,” Mthethwa said in a speech prepared for delivery at an inter-faith prayer meeting in Khayelitsha.

The spike in the number of murdered police officers remained a worrying factor.

“We shall end police killings. We shall ensure that those who kill police officers are punished.”

Policing depended on close co-operation between the police and all spheres of society.

“The active involvement of community structures in local projects like community patrol groups contributes to the reduction of crime in general,” Mthethwa said.

He is challenging Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's establishment of the Khayelitsha commission of inquiry into the state of policing in the area.

Zille did so after NGOs working in Khayelitsha complained that residents no longer trusted the police to keep them safe. The matter comes before the Western Cape High Court on Monday.

According to a report by a police task team appointed by the national police commissioner, Riah Phiyega, there had been a dramatic increase in domestic violence complaints against officers at the Khayelitsha police station.

A large number of police officers at three police stations in the area were being disciplined for misconduct, according to the report. - Sapa