Police are fighting a war they did not declare, national police chief General Bheki Cele said at the funeral of police reservist Lieutenant Colonel Mark Ishlove in Johannesburg on Monday.
“We shall win this war. We shall not allow the country to be ruled by criminals,” he told mourners during the service at the Mosaiek Church in Fairlands.
Criminals were not armed with “broomsticks and feather dusters”. If someone was going to die, it should not be the police officer, he said.
“If that is a policy of shoot to kill, let it be. Anybody who kills a member of the police is inviting trouble and courting sleepless nights.”
Gauteng police chief Lieutenant General Mzwandile Petros said he was always saddened when he heard news that another “soldier was down”.
What made Ishlove so special was that he led from the front, he said.
The day Ishlove arrived at the crime scene, he took command and lost his life in the process.
“We are very proud of him,” Petros said.
Ishlove’s daughters, Marcia and Juliette, told the congregation of their father’s love for and dedication to “his other family”, the police.
Fellow reservist Constable Cliff Bond described Ishlove as his father figure and said he was dedicated to serving his country.
“His blood was truly blue,” Bond said.
Ishlove was buried at the West Park cemetery in Johannesburg on Friday afternoon.
Ishlove (60) died in a shoot-out between the police and a five-man gang near a primary school in Northcliff on June 15. Two of the gunmen also died.
Police were chasing the gang’s white Mercedes-Benz when it crashed. The five men inside jumped out and ran away.
One of them dropped his pistol and was arrested near the accident scene.
Another was arrested further down the road and a third was caught in the school grounds.
Ishlove chased one of the other men to a house where a shoot-out ensued in which he and the gunman died.
The fifth man tried to hide in a Wendy house. He shot himself in the head and died on the way to hospital.