After yet another member of the South African Police Service (SAPS) was brutally gunned down on Monday 24 May, the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Neliswa Peggy Nkonyeni, has urged police to defend themselves relentlessly when faced with heavily armed criminals.

Ndwedwe Police Station Commander, Colonel Jabulani Ndawonde, was fatally shot and killed while driving back home in a police vehicle after he was accosted by suspects in a white mini pick-up truck. The incident happened near Bhamshela Taxi Rank, with a manhunt underway to hunt down the culprits.

SAPS officers under threat 

Nkonyeni strongly condemned the senseless killing in a statement released on Tuesday and urged police to leave no stone unturned in search of the perpetrators.  A 72-hour Activation Plan has been launched as SAPS search for the culprits, who fled after the killing. 

Nkonyeni said that the current jeopardy members of the SAPS find themselves in across the country is unacceptable, and said that in order to protect themselves, police officers should not hold back. 

“The threat to the lives of police members will not be tolerated and we urge police to defend themselves by all means necessary should they be under attack. The murder of a police officer or any member of the law enforcement fraternity is a direct attack on the state and the rule of law, therefore police must not die with a gun in their hands, but they must defend themselves relentlessly,” she said. 

Nkonyeni is expected to visit the Ndawonde family soon to pay her respects, and has expressed her sincere condolences to the family of the slain police officer. 

She appealed to anyone who may have information on the whereabouts of the suspect to contact the SAPS Crime Stop number 0860010111 or send tip-offs to MySAPS APP.

‘Government must assist’, MEC says

In the financial year spanning April 2020 to March 2021, a total of 11 SAPS officers have been killed while on-duty in KZN, with a further ten killed while off-duty.

Nkonyeni reiterated the urgent need for government and communities to build stronger working relations with all law enforcement agencies.

”The presence of police in our society is a constant reminder of the crucial role they play in reassuring our people that they are committed to ensuring that citizens live in a safe and violence free society,” she said on Tuesday. 

“Equally, we will continue to campaign for those criminals who are killing our police officers, to be meted harsher sentences by our courts.”

“We will be using the Operation Vala multi-disciplinary crime fighting campaign to build strong relations between the police and the communities,” added Nkonyeni.

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Presh JM Reporter

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