Engcobo attack shows that crime is out of control – DA

THE DA Shadow Minister of Police Zakhele Mbhele and the DA leader in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature, Bobby Stevenson, visited the Engcobo (Ngcobo) SAPS today, where five police officers were murdered yesterday morning.

They said the visit highlighted the fact that communities are not safe.

Pictures: Michael Pinyana

“When a police station, which should stand as a bright light against the dark act of crime, is subjected to the horror of theft and murder, then this brings us to question our own safety as ordinary citizens and the ability of the SAPS to fight crime,” DA Shadow Minister of Police Zakhele Mbhele said in a statement today.

“Following this heinous attack on our women and men in blue, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula needs to roll out a plan and strategy that tangibly and effectively keeps us safe in our homes and on the streets. The reality is that crime cannot be tweeted away. How many more people must die before we see real action from the minister?” Mbhele said.

The DA representative also met with the Eastern Cape Provincial Police Commissioner, Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga, to discuss what actions have and should be taken to ensure that the Engcobo police station’s infrastructure is secure.

“It appears that stealing firearms was at least part of the motive for this brazen attack. It is deeply concerning that the police station was attacked at the same time as patrol vehicles, in what may have been a co-ordinated attack to paralyse the ability of the SAPS to respond to an ATM attack that was underway at the same time but was ultimately unsuccessful,” Mbhele said.

He said the disturbing attack highlighted that SAPS members need to be adequately resourced, equipped and trained so that they are ready for any possible eventuality.

The DA called on Mbalula to prioritise making sure that police stations across the country have the resources they need to protect themselves and the people of South Africa against criminals.

“Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and we extend our sympathy and encouragement to the surviving SAPS members who have been traumatised,” Mbhele said.

“SAPS members put their lives on the line every day and it is only fair that they have what they need to protect themselves and ultimately the people they are meant to protect.”

Mbhele asserted that Mbalula was neglecting his duty to fully capacitate and professionalise the police service. “This results in the lack of resources at police stations and therefore, the SAPS’s inability to bring down the unacceptably high rate of crime in our country.

“The DA welcomes that a team of detectives has been assigned the case and the minister must provide regular updates on the progress made in the investigation. We also appeal to the public come forward with any information which can help track down the perpetrators of this crime.”

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