Bheki Cele warns of criminals in the police force at funeral of Durban cop
'Someone must pay,' police minister warns killers of policeman
Before concluding his address to hundreds of mourners at the funeral of a slain policeman in Durban on Tuesday, police minister Bheki Cele said he hoped that no one from the police was involved in the heinous killing.
"I just wish that there is no one from us that had their hand in this. I am told that he was a tough and genuine policeman," Cele said at the Shri Mariammen Temple hall in Phoenix, north of Durban.
"Amongst us are Judas[es]. There are very bad people amongst us. While we are finding answers on what happened, we must check that there are no criminals amongst us."
Warrant officer Theena Pillay, who had served as a police officer since 1991, was gunned down on Sunday.
An unidentified man shot Pillay several times outside his house in Phoenix as he was leaving for work. Pillay managed to return fire, killing the suspect instantly before succumbing to his injuries.
"The second thug must be found. I don't want to see him eye-to-eye. I want to see him foot-to-eye. He has started something that he cannot finish," warned Cele.
He reminded police officers that they were given tools to take down criminals and applauded Pillay for fatally shooting a criminal before he died.
"This thing of sending criminals for warm-water baths and free meals - I don't like it. This is a father, a son and a colleague. Someone must answer. Someone must pay."
Police officers wiped away tears as the casket carrying the body of Phoenix warrant officer Theena Pillay was carried into a Mount Edgecombe hall where his funeral service has begun. Pillay was gunned down outside his home on Sunday. @TimesLIVE @yasantha— Nivashni Nair (@NivashniNair) December 24, 2019
Acting national police commissioner Lt-Gen Fannie Masemola also issued a stern warning to those behind Pillay's killing.
"Since his death, we have learnt that there were criminals after him. They may be here with us, but even if they are not, their eyes and ears are here. We want them to know that you will never run away from us," he said.
"We will make sure you will pay dearly. Maybe your family will regret what you did. We will teach you a lesson for what you did to a dedicated, well-known police officer."
At his funeral Pillay was described as a committed police officer with integrity. His colleagues from the Phoenix police station wept openly as they carried his casket into the hall.
Hundreds of mourners filled the venue, while hundreds more stood outside.
The funeral ceremony will conclude at the Verulam Crematorium on Tuesday afternoon.