South African Police commissioner, General Khehla Sitole. FILE PHOTO: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

DURBAN - South African Police Service (SAPS) National Commissioner Lt-Gen Khehla John Sitole on Sunday commended the swift arrest of a man in connection with the killing of a SAPS constable in Berea in Durban.

On Friday, Sitole ordered implementation of the SAPS 72-hour activation plan in an effort to apprehend the suspect who shot Constable Siphelele Cele dead, Sitole's office said in a statement.

Cele was shot on Friday morning when he and another SAPS officer stopped a suspicious looking vehicle in Berea.
 
The activation plan entailed mobilising "critical resources", including Pietermaritzburg crime intelligence, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), the Durban K9 unit, and the Durban flying squad.

The suspect was arrested on Saturday night in Pietermaritzburg while attempting to board a bus to Johannesburg. The suspect spotted the officers as they were about to approach him and he attempted to flee.

"The suspect was stopped and arrested through the use of the police K9. He was found in possession of a SAPS service pistol which was robbed from a police official in Umlazi in December 2019."

The suspect was arrested and detained at the Pietermaritzburg Police Station and initially charged with being in possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition. He was thereafter transported to Durban North Police Station where he was charged with the murder of Cele, the statement said. 

Sitole applauded the multidisciplinary team for securing the arrest of the alleged perpetrator.

"The arrest of the suspect within 48 hours of the commission of this crime must be commended. This arrest should serve as a deterrent and warning to all who continue to undermine the authority of the state by attacking and killing law enforcement officers.

"We continue to call on our communities to work together with the SAPS to end these senseless killings and attacks on our members  by sharing information on crime by downloading the MySAPSApp or by calling the Crime Stop  Hotline number on 086-00-10111. Members of the public are reminded that they may remain anonymous and information will be treated with confidentiality," Sitole said.

African News Agency (ANA)