South Africa

SAPS officers who die in the line of duty pay the ultimate price – Ramaphosa

JOHANNESBURG – South African police officers who died in the line of duty have been hailed as the champions of law and order who paid the ultimate price in pursuit of a safer nation.

The 33 officers and reservists, who died in the year to March, were honoured at the annual South African Police Service (SAPS) commemoration day in Pretoria on Sunday.

The event took place at the memorial site at the union buildings where president Cyril Ramaphosa honoured the officers and their families.

Their names were added to the national memorial wall as their loved ones laid wreaths to honour the women and men in blue.

A moment of silence fell over the union buildings as hundreds of police officers gave a final salute to their colleagues.

As the South African flag flew at half-mast, the names of the 33 heroes were read aloud.

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Paying tribute to the officers, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country's men and women in blue are tasked with an increasingly dangerous job of maintaining law and order in the country.

"The circumstances surrounding their deaths vary. Among those we're honouring, some were targeted by criminals for their firearms others were involved in shootouts with criminals, others were killed by reckless drivers on our roads who failed to stop when they were pulled over by our police and some died in accidents."

Ramaphosa said the day should also serve to mobilise society against the killing of our police officers.

"No society can remain silent when criminals have clearly declared war on the police. Our men and women in blue represent the authority of the state, and any attack on them is a direct attack on the state.”

Police Minister Bheki Cele said he commends the late SAPS members' dedication to their jobs.

"We collectively remember their courage, their dedication and their zeal as first-line responders. We honour these members who paid the ultimate price in pursuit for a safer South Africa.

The procession ended with the South African anthem.

Artmotion S.Africa

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