National police Commissioner General Khehla John Sitole commended the police for tracking down the suspected three killers of Constable Motlalentoa Mahlatsi, while also urging communities to report criminals.
Mahlatsi was killed earlier this week while attending to a complaint in Elsburg, east of Johannesburg.
Police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said Sitole had directed the provincial management to activate a 72-hour reaction plan “as an offensive approach to ensuring the police do not rest until the alleged culprits are behind bars”.
She explained that a multidisciplinary team from Gauteng, consisting of seasoned investigators, tactical response and tracking teams conducted an intelligence-driven operation in Gauteng and Mpumalanga “and in the early hours of [Thursday] morning… arrested three suspects”.
Muridili said police recovered two vehicles, two firearms – one of which was an AK-47 assault rifle – and ammunition.
The first two suspects were arrested in Katlehong, with one of them linked to the murder of another police officer in April this year.
“This suspect was wanted on four more murder cases reported in Primrose during 2017 and 2018,” she said.
The third suspect was arrested in eMbalenhle in Mpumalanga, with two pistols and a “bullet riddled” VW Polo was also recovered.
Muridili said General Sitole commended the teams for “their tireless effort in tracking down the alleged killers”.
“The police are part of our communities, they are [at the] frontline of safety and security in our country. I am calling on to you as the community to stand against police killings and to say ‘hands off our police officers’,” Sitole said.
“We need to reclaim our street”, he added.