Police Minister Bheki Cele on Sunday said any attack of any officer was an assault of the state and should be regarded as treason.
Cele has revealed that 40 officers and reservists have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The South African Police Service is paying homage to the women and men in blue who have sacrificed their lives in the execution of their duties.
The ceremony took place at the SAPS Memorial Site at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Sunday morning.
The families of the fallen officers will together with Deputy President David Mabuza to lay wreaths in honour of the officers.
Cele said while the country mourns their passing, South Africans must equally celebrate the officers’ lives.
“Their work is like no other. From the moment they put on their uniform, they answered a call to serve and protect. Even if it meant putting their lives in harm’s way. The 40 officers didn’t make it back home and for that, they are deserving of our respect and honour.”
The names of the slain officials will later be engraved on the national memorial wall to signify the nation’s gratitude for their bravery and sacrifice.
Deputy President David Mabuza said he was concerned that police officers are targeted and, in some cases, murdered by criminals.
Mabuza described the dedication of the women and men in blue as a vital part of the criminal justice system.
“It remains of serious concern that police officers are killed by suspects during arrests, in stop and search operations and in vehicle accidents. It is highly disturbing that police officers lose their lives for their firearms.”
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