Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says the killing of police can never be justified and must come to an end.
“We must build a culture that values police that sees them not merely as public servants, but as courageous men and women who have answered a calling.”
The Deputy President was speaking during the National Commemoration Day ceremony to remember members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) who lost their lives in the line of duty. The ceremony was held in honour of police officers who lost their lives between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016.
He added that citizens should work together to create a nation that cares for each other.
"Together we must build a nation that values the sanctity of life and protects the most vulnerable.
We ask our nation to unite in saying that the murder of our police officers is unacceptable and it must end."
“The death of one police officer is one death too many. It is thus heart-breaking to learn that during the last year 72 members of the police service lost their lives, 40 of them in the line of service,” said Deputy President Ramaphosa.
The youngest of the police officers who lost their lives was Constable Sabelo Manyanga (28) who was shot two days before Christmas last year while on duty in KwaZulu-Natal.
He had three children with the youngest being one month old.
The Deputy President said the murder of police officers should not only be condemned but that communities should commit to working with the justice system to ensure that those who commit these crimes pay for their deeds.
“Communities have a vital role to play. By participating in Community Policing Forums they can have a voice in local policing and become aware of crime trends in their areas.”
Deputy President Ramaphosa told the families of the police officers that the country was behind them.
“May you all find comfort in the knowledge that millions of South Africans truly value your loved ones and the service they rendered with distinction to the people of South Africa and our nation as a whole.
As the names of your loved ones are engraved today on the monument, please know that your pain and your sacrifices remain engraved in the hearts of all of us as South Africans."