Three to appear in KZN court for murder of policeman, bystander
Three men will appear in the Kranskop Magistrate's Court on Friday in connection with the murder of an off-duty policeman and a bystander.
The Hawks arrested the men, aged between 20 and 32, on Tuesday for their alleged role in the shooting of Const Thandoluhle Mhlongo and Mazwi Zuke.
Mhlongo, who was stationed at Kranskop police station in KwaZulu-Natal, had been at a local "shisa nyama" outlet where he was investigating a suspicious car after 9pm on the previous Friday.
As soon as he walked out, he was shot at by the occupants of the vehicle. He managed to pull out his service pistol but two suspects alighted from the vehicle and continued firing at him.
Another off-duty Kranskop police officer who was in the vicinity heard the sound of gunfire and fired back at the suspects. Two were shot and wounded during the exchange.
Mhlongo and Zuke succumbed to gunshots wounds on the scene.
The Hawks' serious organised crime unit immediately took over the investigation. A manhunt culminated in the arrest of two suspects, in Durban and Pietermaritzburg, respectively.
The unit first found an abandoned, burnt-out Mercedes Benz which was used in the commission of the crime.
Following further investigations, the team responded to information that one of the suspects was seen near the Pietermaritzburg central business district. The man was arrested.
A second suspect was apprehended in Durban and the third was traced to Newlands where an unlicensed firearm was retrieved after he tried to flush it down a toilet.
National head of the Hawks Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya commended the members.
"The loss of any life through deliberate human behaviour is condemned. The efforts by law enforcement who responded to the incident is commendable," Lebeya said.
Police minister Bheki Cele also welcomed the arrests.
"Arrests of this nature continue to be sign of our commitment to the constitutional mandate to enforce the law," said Cele.