Police killers: Detectives secure 9 life sentences, 2 others get hefty sentences

South African Police Service

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Police killers: Detectives secure 9 Life sentences, 2 others get hefty sentences
Police killers: Detectives secure 9 Life sentences, 2 others get hefty sentences

The National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, General Khehla John Sitole has welcomed the sentences given to police killers in the first semester of 2019 on cases investigated by Division Detective Services.

These are the cases of four police officers killed between 2012 and 2017 that have been successfully concluded. Nine police killers were sentenced to a combined nine life sentences while two have been given a total of 32 years imprisonment.

These sentences come as a form of closure to the colleagues and especially the families of the fallen heroes as the attacks on and killings of police officers on and off duty continues unabated. The management of the police remains concerned with the numbers and continue to encourage members to always be on alert and to continue with institutionalising the police safety strategy to ensure their safety at all times.

Recently, six accused were convicted of killing Eastern Cape Warrant Officer Mawethu Siganga and an innocent motorist in 2012. The six accused aged between 22 and 30, namely, Welcome Mfiki, Nhlanhla Mvoko, Zwelithini Gibeni, Sinethemba Dangazele, Sonwabile Makhonco and Menzi Zekani killed Warrant Officer Sinanga when he and his crew responded to reports of armed robbery in progress at Mnyameni, Ngqeleni near Mthatha on 4 July 2012. The police managed to retaliate and one of the suspects was also fatally shot during the crossfire and the other suspect was injured.

The accused went on to rob the police of their rifle and pistol before and tried to hijack a woman who was driving by, upon resistance the accused shot and killed the woman before fleeing the scene. Backup from the Ngqeleni Police Station searched and combed the area surrounding the crime scene and immediately arrested Welcome Mfiki. During the arrest the police recovered the robbed service pistol and unlicensed .38 revolver with ammunition. The injured accused was taken to hospital under police guard and the two were charged with murder and attempted murder.

The Detectives successfully opposed bail and court proceedings involved calling 90 witnesses from all over the country as the six were also charged with racketeering and other various counts that included violent crimes such as aggravated robberies and escaping from lawful custody. The investigating officers exercised patience, diligence and commitment to ensure a prosecutable water tight case.

The six were eventually, on 7 June 2019, sentenced by the Mthatha High Court to three life sentences each for the murders, that of Warrant Officer Sinanga, a community member and their accomplice who died at the scene. They were sentenced to a further 15 years for each remaining 37 counts, culminating into a combined 555 years imprisonment. The sentences will not run concurrently.

The other three police officers that were killed are, Warrant Officer Z Nyakaza, Warrant Officer TN Mkhize and Sergeant KG Lefosa.

Warrant Officer Nyakaza was killed in Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape, while off duty on 9 October 2016 and two of his killers were found guilty, one was sentenced to life imprisonment while the second accused was given 20 years in prison.

While Warrant Officer Mkhize was stabbed to death in Umzinto, KwaZulu Natal by unknown suspects on 16 October 2017, he was on duty. Umzinto Detectives worked tirelessly to identify the perpetrators and brought them to court where they were both sentenced to life imprisonment.

Sergeant Lefosa on the other hand was killed in Bloemspruit, Free State on 23 April 2017 while off duty. He was also stabbed to death by unknown assailants, the Provincial Detectives worked around the clock to identify and arrest his killer. The accused was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The National Commissioner has commended the members that investigated these cases and their perseverance in ensuring that lengthy sentences are meted against the ruthless police killers.

“I will always call upon our citizens to work together with the police to root out police killers from our communities. No murder of any law abiding citizens is justifiable and the killing of those mandated by the Constitution of the Republic to ensure safety and security, equates to an attack on the State. We welcome any form of admonishment that will serve as a deterrent for those that have ill intentions of killing police officers”, said General Sitole.

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