South Africa Needs News Crime Fighting Strategies - President Jacob Zuma
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma on Sunday stated that the country needs a better to solution to fighting crime. He was speaking at the South African Police Service's national commemoration for officers who have been killed since April last year, held at the Union Buildings.
"We need to find a solution to fight crime. Crime is no longer affecting the ordinary people but it is affecting the police, the people who are meant to protect us," he said.
Zuma was speaking in the presence of senior police officers, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko and national Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega.
The Union Buildings were a sea of blue as officers remembered their fallen colleagues in a moving ceremony.
Families and friends, many weeping, placed wreaths in memory of the dead officers at the Police Monument.
Zuma said police killings are becoming a serious problem that required the involvement of all South Africans.
"I believe that this matter of police killings is no longer an academic question. The numbers of police officers who have died in a short space of time calls for a serious debate within our country."
He said police officers are not ''sitting ducks'' and will fight back when threatened.
"We urge you to defend yourselves with everything at your disposal if you are attacked, within the confines of the law."
Ahead of the ceremony, the police tweeted the names of colleagues who had died either on or off duty.
Nhleko said he has been working on a plan to transform the police, following the shooting of 34 striking miners in Marikana, North West, in August 2012.
A total of 86 police officers were killed in the 2014/2015 financial year - from April 1 last year to the end of March this year.
Between January 1 and August 24 this year, 58 officers have been killed - 27 on duty and 31 off duty - according to police statistics.