This isn't the first time a police station came under attack: parly committee

22 February 2018 - 13:01 By Timeslive
The scene outside the police station where a gang of gunmen shot and killed seven police officers and one soldier inside the Ngcobo police station.
The scene outside the police station where a gang of gunmen shot and killed seven police officers and one soldier inside the Ngcobo police station.
Image: Thembile Sigqolana

Wednesday's attack on an Eastern Cape police station was not unique.

Police stations in the Free State and Khayelitsha also came under attack in 2017‚ according to parliament’s select committee on security and justice. Furthermore‚ Wednesday was not the first time that the Mthatha police station outside Queenstown was targeted.

“The South African Police Service (SAPS) should urgently address this matter to ensure the protection of its members‚ both on and off duty‚” said Simphiwe George Mthimunye‚ chairperson of the committee.

Six police officers and a soldier died in a shooting at the Ngcobo police station on Wednesday‚ adding to the deaths of 57 police officers who died in 2016/17‚ the committee said. The committee further called on the police to urgently address ATM robberies‚ pointing out that in March last year police in the same area also came under attack from about 15 armed robbers while the criminals were robbing a Standard Bank ATM. The local police station was also hit.

Mthimunye welcomed the action taken by authorities in the wake of the latest killings. National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole appointed a special team to investigate the crime‚ while Police Minister Fikile Mbalula visit the station.

Mthimunye called for more measures to protect officers of the law‚ saying the incident highlighted their vulnerability as well as the proliferation of legal and illegal guns. He said 18 to 21 murders are committed daily with guns‚ according to 2016/17 crime statistics.

“The SAPS must therefore ensure effective implementation of the Firearms Control Act of 2000‚ tighten firearms control measures and root out fraud and corruption among police officials in the gun licencing process to prevent the loss‚ theft and sale to criminals of legal confiscated and surrendered guns‚” Mthimunye said.

Mthimunye said the Eastern Cape received the fourth-highest police budget allocation of all the provinces in 2016/17.

“The SAPS is urged to urgently address security at police stations‚ especially as police stations in the Free State and Khayelitsha also came under attack by armed gangs in 2017‚” he said.

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