The police held its annual National Day of Remembrance on Sunday to honor police officers and reservists who lost their lives in the line of duty.
RNews previously reported that the police annually dedicates the first Sunday of September to honoring its men and women in blue, who have paid the highest price to keep all people living in South Africa safe.
“These were members who knew the risks and dangers associated with this calling, yet remained committed to serving and protecting all people within South Africa’s borders,” said Vincent Magwenya, pres. Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson said.
As part of the proceedings, Ramaphosa as well as Bheki Cele, Minister of Police, Gen. Fannie Masemola, national commissioner of the police, and next of kin of the officers, laid wreaths in honor of the deceased.
“While the sun is shining on us this morning as we gather in the capital, unfortunately the sun has set too early on more than 30 of our own,” Cele said during the proceedings.
“On this somber yet very important day, we gather to honor officers who have paid the ultimate price to keep us safe.
Cele says 34 police officers, including four female officers, were brutally murdered from April last year to March this year while they were on duty in South Africa.
“It is truly humbling to see the proof of support for the police through the presence of all invited guests who walk this difficult journey with us.
“The sun may set, but memories will last forever. We hope that today’s ceremony does not open wounds, but that it brings comfort and closure.”
Pres. Ramaphosa says that attacks on police officers must urgently end and that there must be justice for the families of the fallen members.
“The hard work of the Hawks has led to the arrest of 76 suspected police killers in the past year. These cases are currently before different courts,” Ramaphosa said during the memorial day.
“A total of 488 suspects have been arrested since 2018 for the murder of police officers. Through diligent investigative work, nine convicted police killers were given nine life sentences, i.e. 158 years in prison in total.”
A total of 34 names were added and engraved on the national memorial wall at the Union Building this year to show gratitude for their bravery and loyalty in serving and protecting all communities within South Africa’s borders.
Magwenya says Ramaphosa reached out to the grieving families and shared words of comfort and support with each family member.
He also addressed the group of police trainees who are currently receiving training at the Tshwane Police Academy.
The police’s employee health and wellness component (EHW) continues to provide psychological and spiritual support to the families, friends and colleagues of the deceased officers.