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Cele applauds fight against crime in face of cop killings

Police National Commissioner General Bheki Cele on Tuesday commended police on fighting crime over the weekend despite the recent spate of murders of police officers on duty.

“The members of the South African Police Service have, over this past weekend, shown that they can rise to the occasion of protecting the community even over a period when four of their own — gunned down on duty in the prime of their lives — are being buried,” Cele said in a statement.

The Hawks had arrested a second suspect, a 22-year-old man, in connection with the killing of two on-duty policemen in Kraaifontein, Western Cape. Warrant Officer Girshwin Matthee and Constable Cannon Cloete were buried over the weekend, Brigadier Sally de Beer said.

On Monday just after 10pm police responded to an ATM bombing in Elsburg on the East Rand. As police arrived on the scene the men fired shots at them, wounding a constable in the leg.

Also on Monday, KwaZulu-Natal police arrested two men wanted for wounding Warrant Officer Simphiwe Mthembu on March 13 and robbing him of his firearm.

The men have already appeared in the Nyoni Magistrate’s Court on attempted murder and possession of unlicensed firearm charges.

De Beer said the two suspects, Skhumbuzo Khoza and Scelo Mncube, were remanded in custody together with a third suspect, Bonginhlanhla Zungu, who was arrested on the day of the attack.

Firearms
On Saturday at about 5pm members of the K9 and Durban flying squad pulled over a suspicious car while patrolling the Chatsworth area.

When officers stopped the vehicle the occupants opened fire. The officers returned fire and fatally wounded one suspect, injuring another and arrested the third man unharmed.

Two firearms were recovered from the men.

The men, aged 36 and 37, appeared in the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court on charges of attempted murder and possession of unlicensed firearms on Tuesday.

On Friday at about 8pm police responded to a call out of a house robbery in progress in Heidelberg, Gauteng, De Beer said.

“As the police arrived at the premises, suspects opened fire and a shoot-out ensued.”

De Beer said a police reservist was shot seven times, but was recovering in hospital.

The three men were all killed and three firearms were recovered on the scene.

Cele said he applauded police for their bravery and dedication.

“Even during our gloomiest days we can lift morale by squeezing the space for criminals and making a decisive impact in the fight against crime,” he said. — Sapa

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