SAPS confirms more than 370 officers have tested positive.
Two veteran police officers have died after contracting Covid-19, national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole confirmed on Thursday.
This comes while the state security department recorded over 370 police force members tested positive for the coronavirus, with the majority of those cases in the Western Cape.
Sitole described the two late officers as brave, exemplary and served South African people with utmost diligence.
“On behalf of the entire SAPS family, I would like to personally pay tribute to the two members who placed their lives on the line to ensure that the people of South Africa are protected against crime as well as against this virus,” Sitole said.
“I have also conveyed my sincere condolences to the families of our fallen colleagues and thanked them for the decades the members have served in the SAPS as well as for allowing them to serve during these trying times.”
Police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said one of the deceased officers was from KwaZulu-Natal, a 55-year-old warrant officer who succumbed to the virus on Sunday, 26 April.
“The officer served our country for 27 years having joined the force as a student constable in 1993,” he said.
Naidoo said the second officer was from the Eastern Cape and died on Monday.
“The captain had 29 years of service having joined the organisation in 1991 also as a student constable,” he said.
He said 55 members have recovered from the virus.
“In response to the surge in numbers in the Western Cape, a delegation from the national steering committee visited the province to provide the necessary support in ensuring that the protocols to contain and manage the virus are being implemented accordingly.”
He said SAPS’s 24/7 Covid-19 hotline was another measure put in place to ensure continuous support to infected and affected members and their families.
“The hotline is being manned by SAPS psychologists, occupational health experts, chaplains, legal experts as well as members from operational environments to assist frontline members to implement lockdown regulations accordingly.”
Naidoo said regular compliance visits were conducted weekly at all SAPS premises.
This included check-ups that all SAPS members have the necessary personal protective equipment and crucial items to protect them and visitors at all frontline points against the virus.
“We also encourage, educate and create awareness amongst all members to continue protecting themselves by adhering to all our safety protocols.
“This is done by continuously practising social distancing, wearing personal protective equipment at all times as well as sanitising regularly,” Naidoo added.