Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has promised police officers that he will see to it that there will be legislation that protects police officers if they defend themselves against criminals.
He has urged police officers not to die with a firearm in their hand, but to shoot until all their ammunition is spent.
Mbalula says members of the South African Police Service face danger every day. In 2017, 40 officers died in the line of duty. The minister has labelled criminals who kill police officers as being worse than dogs.
However, allegations of high level corruption, state capture and the misuse of state institutions for political ends cast a shadow over the celebrations.
Speaker in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature Meshack Radebe, has told police officers they are the thin blue line that prevents South Africa from becoming a banana republic.
Radebe says, “Don’t be captured. Do your work without being influenced by politicians. Do your work as the police without being influenced. We are facing a crisis in this country. We don’t know who’s captured and not captured. Don’t allow yourself to be captured by politicians. Do your work.”
In reaction, Mbalula has called on police officers to do their work without fear or favour, and leave politics to the politicians.
He nevertheless urged newly-appointed Police Chief Khehla Sithole not to be afraid of having politicians arrested if they break the law.
Mbalula has also told members of the South African Police Service to focus on their work and not be caught up in politics.
He was addressing thousands of people in Durban’s Mpumalanga township during the celebration of National Police Day.
This as allegations of state capture and the misuse of state institutions for political ends have been in the news almost every day of late.