Police Minister Bheki Cele has expressed delight at yet another breakthrough in the murder of two Kraaifontein police officers, in the Western Cape, at the weekend.
This comes after investigators in the case on Friday arrested nine suspects who they believe will bring them closer to solving the murders.
In a statement issued on Friday, Minister Cele reiterated his call for harsher punishment for those who attack and kill police officers.
Constable Mninawa Breakfast (28) and Sergeant Mnakwazo Welcome Mdoko (46) were shot and killed in an ambush in the early hours of Saturday while patrolling in Bloekombos. Their service firearms were also stolen. A 32-year-old man has appeared in court for the murders and remains behind bars until his next court appearance.
"On Thursday night, an intelligence-led police operation resulted in the arrest of nine suspects for the possession of unlicensed firearms in Khayelitsha," said the Police Ministry.
Two of the firearms found at the scene were positively identified to belong to the slain police members.
Cele, lauding the work of all the units involved in the latest developments, said: "This breakthrough as a result of combined efforts of DPCI together with Crime Intelligence, Flying Squad and the Tactical Response teams is paying off and I am encouraged that the SAPS in the province has taken up the call to find the police killers dead or alive".
The Minister said he believed the crackdown of these suspects also means fewer illegal firearms are on the streets of Cape Town, which are in many cases, used to commit violent crimes.
A total of seven police officers have been killed in the past 15 days.
Minister Cele has urged communities to continue to work with the police and provide information that can assist investigations and ensure that those who commit crimes against community members and the police, face the full strength of the law.