President Cyril Ramaphosa joined the families of slain police officers at the SAPS Memorial Site in Pretoria on Sunday morning to observe the annual Saps Commemoration Day.
“Today, we honour those officers who never made it back home” –Police Minister Bheki Cele
SAPS Commemoration Day 2021
At the commemoration, Police Minister called on those present to take a moment of silence in remembrance of South Africa’s fallen heroes who died in the line the duty.
“It cuts deep when we see empty desks in the workplace, when we see reduced numbers of members on parade, when we see polices station with a severe shortage of members”.
Watch: SAPS Commemoration Day
He added to this list the 852 members who succumbed to Covid-19 related complications. He said the pain “goes beyond the numbers.
“The pain cuts even more deep to the parents, the spouses, children and families of our fallen men and women in blue”.
“It is clear citizens can no longer afford to be bystanders in their communities. Each day we all should work better at being active citizens”, he said.
Cele also thanked Ramaphosa for his support, and said Saps members remain encouraged by his endeavours to make South Africans feel safe despite “the evolving challenges in the criminal justice space”.
Work at being ‘better citizens’
Cele said most citizens will never be able to fully understand what surviving family members have and continue to go through. He said the Saps family “hold you in our hearts, not just today, but always”.
“The country is forever indebted to you and it is on behalf of all of us, the entire South African people, that I offer my thoughts, my prayers, and my thanks”.
He said the deaths of fallen officers should not be in vain. Instead, their loss should remind “us all as a nation [of] the importance of community policing partnerships”.
Saps Commemoration Day
The Saps Commemoration Day falls on the first Sunday of September during which Saps members and their families “gather and take comfort in [their] shared bereavement”.
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the National Commemorations avoided a large-scale event by hosting “partly physical and virtual” gatherings.
This year’s event commemorates members of the Saps who lost their lives in the line of duty between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021.