Police Minister Bheki Cele on Saturday visited the Ngcobo community “in a concerted effort to claim back the dignity of Ngcobo community from the brutal hands of the criminals”, the South African Police Service (SAPS) said on Saturday.
This followed the shooting of five SAPS officers and a retired soldier in Ngcobo on February 21, the SAPS said in a statement.
The safety and security department, together with the SAPS, hosted an imbizo for the community at the Nyanga High School Grounds in Ngcobo, where Cele gave feedback to the community on the developments since the tragedy.
“Through this robust engagement, the community of Ngcobo will be kept abreast of the status of policing since the last time the minister was in the area, and reinforce the community and police relations in ensuring that the communities bring forth information that will assist in ensuring their communities are and feel safe,” the SAPS said.
During the night of Wednesday, February 21, five policemen from the Ngcobo police station were killed by unknown gunmen who robbed the police station of 10 firearms and fled the scene with a police vehicle they hijacked from two policemen, whom they kidnapped and murdered. The police van was later found abandoned in a ditch off the road a few kilometres from the station.
Two days later, seven suspects allegedly involved in the Ngcobo police station attack were killed during a shoot-out with police at the the Mancoba church compound they used as a hideout. More than 10 other suspects were arrested while others managed to escape. One police officer was wounded. More arrests have subsequently been made, bringing the total to 18. The stolen firearms were recovered.