At least two police officers were injured in the line of duty, one of whom since passed away, and a further two were shot dead in the Free State this week.
The Newcastle K9 Unit’s Warrant Officer Sasha Naidoo was in critical condition after he was stabbed in Madadeni on Tuesday afternoon, reports the Newcastle Advertiser.
According to sources, Naidoo received a stab wound to his left inner thigh while attending to a complaint. He was rushed to hospital where he underwent treatment to stop the bleeding. It was reported on June 29 that he had passed away.
On Wednesday, the African News Agency reported that the Western Cape detectives were in pursuit of suspects following the brazen attack on the Lingelethu West police station in Khayelitsha in the early hours of Wednesday morning, in which a sergeant on duty at the station was shot in the face.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said three suspects had entered the police station at about 2am under the pretext of reporting a robbery incident.
“They fired shots in the community service centre and police responded,” Potelwa said.
“The suspects then fled the scene. The motive for the attack at this stage has not yet been established.”
According to News24, the officer was admitted to hospital in a stable condition.
The African News Agency further reported that two police constables stationed at a Community Service Centre in Koffiefontein in the Free State were found shot dead on Thursday morning.
These incidents come as the latest South Africa Survey published by the South African Institute of Race Relations revealed that the rate at which police officers were being murdered had fallen significantly over the past 20 years.
In a statement on the findings, the institute said: “Viewed by decade (1995-2004 and 2005-2014), more than double the number of police officers were murdered in the first decade after apartheid than between 2005 and 2014.”
Yet, despite the huge drop in police murders, South Africa remained a relatively dangerous country in which to conduct police work.
IRR crime analyst Kerwin Lebone said: “The police’s primary role in the pre-1994 era was regarded as that of defending the government of the day and police were thus a legitimate target for political attacks.”
He added, however, that it was a concern that such a significant proportion (46%) were killed while attending to a complaint, possibility indicating a sloppy attitude among officers when approaching potential crime scenes.
The IRR surmises that police murders fell as overall levels of murder fell, private security took over the first-responder role in many areas, and communities increasingly came to catch their own criminals and hand these over to the police.
– Additional reporting by the Caxton News Service and African News Agency