The South African Police Services say 10 police officers have been killed in the country in the last 29 days.
In the latest incident, two police officers were killed at the Inyoni Police Station on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast when they were overpowered while inspecting holding cells.
Siza Nyandeni and Bhekani Gumede were overpowered, disarmed, shot and seriously injured. They later died in hospital.
The officers were 48 and 59 years old.
A 23-year-old suspect, in custody for a number of robberies, was shot dead by one of the officers while another managed to flee.
Provincial police say a task-team has been set up to investigate the incident.
MEC for Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu, called for police killers to be charged with treason.
Nyandeni’s family is devastated. His uncle and family spokesperson, Davies Nyandeni, says he was a pillar of strength for the family.
“His family has lost a lot because there are still some of his children who are still in primary school, there’s some in High School, some are in university who have still not completed their studies.”
“We have been hit hard and even the extended family have been dealt a major blow because he was a man with authority in family and when he spoke every one listened,” he says.
The South African Policing Union has urged police management to prioritize the safety of their members.
Killing of police officers both on and off duty is reaching unprecedented levels
Provincial Secretary Nosi Mdletshe says they warned provincial management that more personnel should be deployed to that particular police station.
“I tried to deal with the matter of Inyoni SAPS, in particular with the cells itself whereby one of our members escaping took place as well. So instead of counselling they decided to take disciplinary steps where I went to represent the member.”
“She was found not guilty including this Nyandeni who is late now. Last year in November an escape took place and then I went to represent him and he was found not guilty. Unfortunately now he is late,” Mdletshe says.
The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union provincial chairperson has called for a special task team to investigate all police killings.
National police spokesperson Vish Naidoo says the killings have brought the number of police officers killed nationally in the last 29 days, to 10.
He urged the public to work with police to end the killings.
“Killing of police officers both on and off duty is reaching unprecedented levels. Last year alone, for the entire calendar year we lost 85 police officers and this year so far we’ve lost at least 10 police officers both on and off duty.”
Naidoo adds: “We continue to appeal to the community of South Africa to please assist us and continue cooperating with us in terms of identifying particularly from a pro-active point of view those that are intending attacking and killing police officers and also reactive point of view providing us with information on those that were responsible for attacks and killings of police officer.”
Most of the 85 police killings last year occurred in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.