Kate Lorimer,MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Safety & Security

Last week on Friday afternoon (20 April) in a small informal settlement near OR Tambo airport, off-duty policeman, Warrant officer Kekana allegedly walked into a tavern and shot dead Amelia Mosia and her 14 month old granddaughter. Kekana was reportedly drunk at the time and the motive for the shooting is unclear. He has been arrested and the case handed over to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).

This shooting however seems to have raised barely a blip on the radar screen.

It is another in a continuing string of cases where members of the SAPS shoot and kill civilians and highlights the necessity for regular, mandatory debriefing of police members who face extremely stressful and dangerous situations on a daily basis.

Most members of the SAPS are issued with side-arms which they carry to and from work. They therefore have access to a weapon at all times. Should a member be psychologically unstable for any reason, this presents a danger to members of the public.

It is also very disturbing that an audit report has found that 1923 police officers in Gauteng are “unfit” to carry firearms because they are not properly trained. The questions that should be asked in this case are: When last was this police member debriefed? Were his colleagues aware he was under undue stress for personal or work related reasons? When was he last assessed in terms of his competence to carry a sidearm?

If there was mandatory debriefing of police members, these questions may have been answerable and the shooting may never have taken place. Unfortunately the current situation in the SAPS is that there is such a great stigma attached to debriefing or psychological counselling that police members do not take advantage of the police psychologists and social workers.

I will be writing to the Acting National Minister of Police to again raise the necessity for consistent psychological monitoring of police personnel. It is time for the National Department of Police to take care of our SAPS members and by doing so, our communities.

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