• Police Minister Bheki Cele has warned officers to show exemplary behaviour – in and out of uniform.
  • An off-duty police officer was stabbed and killed in a shebeen in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
  • Cele also said police had to be extra sensitive when women came to report crimes.

Police Minister Bheki Cele urged police officers to hold themselves to a higher standard of ethics than the average citizen.

Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart
Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart

The minister made this appeal after a police member was stabbed and killed in a shebeen in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

“There are things that human beings do, but there are things…that [people do that] you can’t be part of,” Cele said on Wednesday.

He was speaking in Port Elizabeth, where, together with the provincial commissioner, Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga, and the top management, he assessed the effectiveness of the police’s “Safer Seasons” plan for the holidays.

Cele was upfront with officers, saying the job demanded more from them than the average South African.

He said their behaviour, in and out of uniform, had to be exceptional and respectful.

“Why don’t [you] respect your organisation? Why you don’t respect yourself and your colleagues? You can’t be sitting at the shebeen and then you are…killed there. You know you are vulnerable, but you also don’t respect your organisation and the rest of your colleagues.”

He mentioned the shebeen after an officer, who was stationed in Mossel Bay and holidaying in the Eastern Cape, was allegedly killed at 01:45 at Nozukile Kobe Shebeen, in Qibira, following conflict with group of men on Wednesday.

He was stabbed in the chest with a sharp instrument, ministerial spokesperson Lirandzu Themba said.

“They took the deceased [to hospital] with private transport, but they found that he was dead.”

The officer was off-duty.

‘It is not your job to be fashion advisors’

Cele was also hard on officers when speaking about gender-based violence.

He said no woman should be turned away from police stations.

“When a woman comes to report abuse by a husband or boyfriend…don’t send that woman back home to negotiate. It’s not your job to send an abused and complaining and suffering woman and child back to negotiate.

“Yours is to go and arrest that person. It’s not your job to send them back. She comes for the first time, she comes for the second time, she doesn’t come for the third time because you keep sending her to negotiate.

“Why doesn’t she come the third time? She is dead, she has been killed. She has been murdered by that abuser.”

Cele stressed that women, children and the elderly, in particular, had to be protected by police.

“You have an extra job when it comes to women issues.”

He also said police must not judge women by what they wear.

“It’s not your job to look at the women’s skirt, you are not fashion advisors. Look at the woman, empathise, sympathise and act.”

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