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City calls out Cele's 'irresponsible' comments at slain cop's memorial

17 January 2020 - 17:08 By Aron Hyman, Philani Nombembe and Storm Lewis
Constable Thando Sigcu was killed when shots were fired in the Cape Town CBD on January 7 2020.
Constable Thando Sigcu was killed when shots were fired in the Cape Town CBD on January 7 2020.
Image: Facebook/Thando Sigcu

The city of Cape Town rebutted police minister Bheki Cele's “irresponsible” statements at the memorial service of undercover police constable Thando Sigcu, who was allegedly shot dead by a city law enforcement officer.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith on Friday disputed Cele's suggestion that the city was reluctant to hand over CCTV footage of the incident on  January 7.

Sigcu, 38, who worked as an undercover policeman, was shot while arresting a suspect in the CBD around 9pm.

Police said while Sigcu was wrestling with the suspect, two city law enforcement officers stopped at the scene. Shots were fired which killed Sigcu. The suspect was also injured and is in a coma in hospital.

On Thursday TimesLIVE quoted Cele as saying that the suspect had not formally been charged nor had a witness statement been taken by Hawks investigators.

“I have told the MEC that I am on the unhappy side about the way things are going. I am really taken aback that investigators are saying they can’t get the footage [of the shooting].

“This city is known to be the best in [terms of] cameras. They are all over ... I am talking about the city centre where all cameras are concentrated. The family needs answers and the police officer died on duty,” said Cele.

Smith said in a statement there was no formal request for the CCTV footage to be handed over.

“The statements made by minister Cele about the city is, accordingly, irresponsible and is not factually correct. It is regrettable that the statements were made at the memorial service of the officer who died, particularly considering the sensitivity of this tragic incident,” said Smith.

He said there was no footage of the actual shooting,  only what transpired afterwards. He said the city would supply this footage “for the sake of full transparency”.

He said there were discussions between the Hawks investigators and the implicated law enforcement officer's attorneys regarding the provision of a statement.

“The city wishes to point out that, at the outset, it undertook to co-operate with the Hawks in regard to the investigation of the matter and that the city will continue to do so,” he said.

“The city emphasises that it will not risk compromising the investigation by acting irresponsibly, and reiterates that it will continue and support the Hawks and any other law enforcement body in the investigation of this matter,” he added.