Speaking at the funeral of the Sergeant Thamsanqa Zondi, Phiyega hailed him as a hero.
“We find solace in the fact that he died doing what he loved so much and he died fighting for what he believed in,” Phiyega said in a statement she delivered at the funeral.
“There cannot be a death nobler than dying whilst fighting for the ideals and principles of your country. He was a true hero and we have lost a dedicated soldier in the fight against crime.”
Zondi had been part of the SA Police Service for 11 years.
He, a security guard and three suspected robbers were shot dead following the foiled heist in Richmond on Monday.
Another police officer and two suspected robbers were wounded in the shoot-out.
They were all in hospital.
An AK-47 rifle and a 9mm pistol were recovered from the men.
Phiyega said the incident showed that SAPS was full of individuals who were willing to lay down their lives to protect the country and its citizens.
“Despite the comments of some of our critics, we should never underestimate the role we play in keeping this country from falling into anarchy,” said Phiyega.
“Especially in this period during the run up to the election we will see all manner of so called ‘experts’ claiming that we are not winning the war.
“We will not allow what they say to destroy the moral of our members,” she said.