/ 7 November 2007

Thousands march against killing of police

Almost 6 000 people marched in the Johannesburg city centre on Wednesday, protesting against police murders in Gauteng.

The march, which was organised by the Gauteng Provincial Community Policing Forum (CPF) in partnership with police and Liquor Traders against Crime, began at Beyers Naude Square and ended at the Johannesburg Civic Centre.

A memorandum was handed over to Gauteng minister of safety and security Firoz Cachalia at the civic centre.

”I believe the march successfully sent a message to communities to become more involved and against the killing of police officers. We are sick and tired of our police officers being killed,” said CPF provincial secretary Sechaba Khumalo.

The mass march comes after latest statistics revealed that from April till the end of October this year, at least 64 police officers were killed countrywide.

Of the 64 officers, 33 were killed in Gauteng alone. During the 2006 and 2007 financial year, a total of 108 police murders occurred. This had increased from the previous year, when 95 were killed.

The day started off at 10am with a prayer ceremony in Jeppestown, where four police officers — Inspector Frikkie van Heerden, Sergeant Gert Schoeman, Constable Victor Mathya and Constable Pieter Seaward — were gunned down after they confronted a gang of armed robbers.

Provincial police Commissioner Vishnu Naidoo and the families of the officers were present at the ceremony.

Gauteng police spokesperson Superintendent Eugene Opperman said there is no respect for the law and that police officers are under attack. ”This was a good initiative as it raised concerns in communities. When police officers are killed in other countries, communities are outraged, and want justice to be done,” he said. — Sapa