As the country comes to grips with a spate of killings which have claimed the lives of several cops in recent weeks, another police officer has been gunned down in KwaZulu-Natal.
According to reports, a 55-year-old captain from the Umkomaas detective unit was gunned down in a hit while on his way to work on Thursday morning.
The assailants are believed to have opened fire on his vehicle as he approached a speed hump.
In a statement on Thursday, Colonel Brenda Muridili confirmed the killing.
She said “It is reported that at 7.15am, a 55-year-old police detective captain who was stationed at Umkomaas detectives, was killed in a drive-by shooting by four unknown assailants on the M14 Road, Roseneath area.”
She said the suspects’ vehicle was spotted driving recklessly by Umkomaas members on patrol and a chase ensued.
“The suspect’s vehicle is alleged to have crashed into a truck during the high-speed chase. The suspects got out of their vehicle, robbed and fatally shot a motorist, aged 33, before speeding off from the crime scene in the victim’s vehicle.”
A case, involving two counts of murder and carjacking, has been opened for investigation at SAPS Umkomaas.
Muridili further said a multidisciplinary team had been deployed to implement the 72-hour activation plan to investigate the shootings and apprehend the suspects.
“The national commissioner has urged all members of the SAPS to be extra vigilant at all times and to utilise their tactical expertise learnt through various training programmes offered to them while on and off duty, especially with the recent surge of police killings.”
National police commissioner Gen Khehla Sitole said “This commonality of the modus operandi and crime patterns of brutal killing of our police members as identified is under investigation to uncover the root causes which will enable us to investigate and prevent these gruesome crimes from taking place again.”
The killing comes in the wake of a funeral being held, and attended by police minister Bheki Cele, of two Cape Town police officers, Sergeant Mnakwazo Mdoko, 46, and Constable Mninawa Breakfast, 28, who were shot dead by a group of suspects in Kraaifontein on Sunday.
One their suspected killers, Mxoleleni Sikhala, appeared in the Blue Downs magistrate’s court on Tuesday morning in connection with the murders.
[JUST IN] Another @SAPoliceService officer has been killed. 55 year old Captain from the Umkomaas Detectives in KZN was gunned down while on his way to work this morning. The latest killing comes as Cape Town police hold a memorial service for two fallen Kraaifontein officers. pic.twitter.com/JhXEiE9ppR
— Lirandzu Themba (@LirandzuThemba) March 4, 2021
#PoliceMinistry Today Minister Gen Cele leads wreath laying ceremony @ Kraaifontein police station honouring Sgt Mdoko & Cst Breakfast. Memorial service is now underway as members of the police celebrate life of the members who have been described as humble & hardworking. TM pic.twitter.com/VJBPtEqjQY
— SA Police Service 🇿🇦 (@SAPoliceService) March 4, 2021
Sikhala was charged with two counts of murder, attempted murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances after he was arrested, allegedly in possession of two firearms, 45 rounds of 9mm ammunition and a cellphone.
Last week Cele visited the families of two Pietermaritzburg cops who died in a hail of bullets after being ambushed by gunmen in Taylors Halt, in the uMgungundlovu district, on February 20.
The couple, Sergeant Makhosaze Mdlangathi, 33, and Sergeant Mfikelwa Mtolo, 39, who were stationed at the Plessislaer and Richmond police stations, had spent the evening at the home of Mdlangathi’s sister before they came under fire.
Cele also said “Dead or alive, we’ll have to find them. Someone will have to make sure that they surface. If we are lucky, we will know what happened”.