President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the killing of police officers as an attack on democracy and the state. He was speaking at the national commemoration day to pay tribute to police officers killed in the line of duty.
South African Police Service (SAPS) confirmed that 34 police officers were killed between 1 April 2020 and 31 March this year while doing their jobs.
"They were colleagues, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, loving fathers, caring mothers, neighbours and friends. They are and will continue to be deeply missed," said the president in his keynote address at the Union Buildings.
He said those who kill police officers should face the full might of the law.
“These are the people who attack our men and women in uniform and thus undermine the authority of the democratic state," Ramaphosa said.
The families of some of the slain police officers are still in pain after their death.
Nosipho Siyoko, mother to the late Constable Asanda Siyoko, said her grandson is not coping with his father's death.
“It is hard, especially on the child and his marks have dropped at school. He is still struggling to cope. But at least now we are able to talk about it. We were having a hard time talking about his death,” said Siyoko.
The late Sergeant Mnakwazo Mdoko's wife, Nozipho Mdoko, said the family is devastated.
"His death is stressful because I am raising a four-month-old baby alone. She doesn’t know her father. The only thing she has are his pictures," said Mdoko.
Her husband was gunned down with his work partner, Constable Mninawa Breakfast, earlier this year when they were patrolling in Bloekombos.
Ramaphosa has called on law enforcement officers to improve relations with community members in their fight against crime.
“We must therefore work towards strengthening community-police relations and bring strategic stakeholders on board to bolster the efforts of police to bring down the levels of serious and violent crime,” said the president.