The killing of six police officers in just one week has shifted the spotlight onto the growing number of incidents of police being ambushed while on patrol.
Police Minister Bheki Cele attended the funeral of Constable Royal Mfihloyakhe Ndlovu on Sunday in KwaXimba, KwaZulu-Natal.
Constable Ndlovu was killed while responding to a case of domestic violence in Chatsworths outside Durban.
His total of 15 years and 23 days in the police service ended suddenly when the perpetrator shot him in the chest through a window on 18 February.
The attacker shot him in the upper body above his bulletproof vest, before being shot and killed by Ndlovu’s partner while trying to run away from the scene.
While attending the funeral, Cele received news that two police officers died under a hail of bullets on Sunday morning, when they were ambushed by unknown gunmen while on patrol in Bloekombos in the Western Cape.
Major General Thembisile Patekile, the Western Cape Provincial Commissioner, immediately launched a 72-hour large-scale manhunt using all resources available to the police.
The two members of Kraaifontein Police lost their lives around 01:25am in Phumla street in Bloekombos when their vehicle came under fire in an apparent ambush.
Police spokesperson Colonel Andre Traut said: “Both members were killed on the scene and robbed of their official firearms.”
The identities of the sergeant and the constable will be released at a later stage.
“The Hawks have been assigned to investigate the circumstances surrounding this heinous act against the State.”
Another three off-duty police officers were also killed in KZN in the past week.
Denouncing cop killings, Cele said the police were a national asset and should be protected at all costs.
The South African Police Service has so far also lost over 590 police officers to the Covid-19 pandemic.