National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole has condemned the attack on three police officers in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal, on Monday morning.
In a statement, the South African Police Service (SAPS) said the officers, who are members of the Nongoma Visible Policing unit, were ambushed while responding to business robberies at two filling stations.
“On arrival at the scene, they were met by a hail of bullets and they retaliated. Suspects fled the scene and three police officers were injured and taken to hospital. A warrant officer has since been discharged and two constables, one of them critically injured, are receiving medical attention,” Brenda Muridili said in the statement.
Sitole praised the members for their bravery and commitment to rid communities of people who have no regard for human life.
“Our members are fearless and this incident bears witness that we, as the police, will not be deterred. We will continue with our endeavours to ensure that the citizens of this country are and feel safe. We will always put our lives in the line in pursuit of our constitutional mandate,” said the General.
He wished the injured members a speedy recovery. “I have directed that the provincial management ensure that all the members that responded to these business robberies be supported and afforded a debriefing by our Employee Health and Wellness.”
Sitole has instructed that the 72-Hour Activation Plan be mobilised to hunt down the balaclava-clad perpetrators that allegedly fled the scene with undisclosed amount of money in six luxury sedans.
The Portfolio Committee on Police also condemned the attack.
In a statement, committee chairperson Francois Beukman said the committee favours the deployment of specialised units, such as the Tactical Response Team and National Intervention Unit in hotspot areas.
“We cannot allow a situation where highly armed criminals attack members of the SAPS,” Beukman said.
He said the proliferation of illegal firearms continues to be a worrying trend that deserves maximum effort aimed at ridding the country of these firearms.
The committee called on the public who knows the whereabouts of the perpetrators to contact their nearest police station.