Covid-19 claims the lives of two more police officers
Durban - Two police officers have lost their lives after contracting Covid-19.
The deaths were confirmed by national SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo, who said they were saddened by the loss.
Naidoo said the officers, based in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, passed away in hospital.
Naidoo said the KZN officer was a 55-year-old warrant officer who died on Sunday. He said the officer had been a part of the police force for 27 years.
"The policeman in the Eastern Cape succumbed to the virus on Monday. He had served the country for 29 years," he said.
National police chief General Khehla John Sitole described the two members as brave and exemplary as well as members who have served and protected the South African people with utmost diligence.
“On behalf of the entire SAPS family, I would like to personally pay tribute to the two members who placed their lives on the line to ensure that the people of South Africa are protected against crime as well as against this virus.
"I have also conveyed my sincere condolences to the families of our fallen colleagues and thanked them for the decades the members have served in the SAPS as well as for allowing them to serve during these trying times," Sitole said.
He said management was not taking the matter lightly.
Sitole noted that to date more than 370 officers have tested positive for Covid-19, with most of the cases being recorded in the Western Cape.
"In response to the surge in numbers in the Western Cape, a delegation from the national steering committee visited the province to provide the necessary support in ensuring that the protocols to contain and manage Covid-19 are being implemented accordingly.
"With that said, it is encouraging that 55 members have recovered from the virus, giving us hope that this disease can be beaten," he said.
Sitole said that through the SAPS Employee Health and Wellness programme, police officers are being provided with the necessary psychological support.
"This is carried out to both infected and affected members and their families through a number of interventions such as counseling, daily devotions and visits to SAPS premises and roadblocks," he said.
A 24/7 Covid-19 hotline has also been established and is another way to ensure continuous support to our infected and affected members and their families.
"The hotline is being manned by SAPS psychologists, occupational health experts, chaplains, legal experts as well as members from operational environments to assist front-line members to implement lockdown regulations accordingly.
Regular compliance visits are also being conducted weekly at all SAPS premises, which include police stations, to ensure all SAPS members have the necessary PPE and crucial items to protect them and the visitors at all front-line points against the virus.
"We also encourage, educate and create awareness amongst all members to continue protecting themselves by adhering to all our safety protocols.
"This is done by continuously practicing social distancing, wearing personal protective equipment at all times as well as sanitising regularly.
"The safety of visitors at the CSC also remains one of our priorities hence the measures implemented at all police stations and SAPS premises," Sitole said.IOL