Family in tears as officer gets bail after fatal shooting of undercover cop
A Cape Town law enforcement officer implicated in a shooting that left undercover police constable Thando Sigcu dead has been charged with two counts of murder.
Morne Horn, 26, appeared in the Cape Town magistrate's court on Wednesday.
Sigcu was arresting a suspect in the city's CBD when the shooting occurred.
“It is alleged the 38-year-old constable was apprehending a robbery suspect in Heerengracht Street, Cape Town, around 9pm [on January 7] when two City of Cape Town law enforcement officers stopped on the scene. Shots were discharged and the constable was fatally wounded,” provincial police spokesperson Brig Novela Potelwa said at the time.
“Const Sigcu was attached to the Cape Town Central police station and at the time of his death was performing crime-prevention duties. He had been in the police for five years and has been described as a responsible and disciplined member,” added Potelwa.
The robbery suspect also sustained a gunshot wound and was admitted to hospital, Potelwa said. The court heard on Wednesday that he had later died.
The Hawks took charge of the investigation.
Prosecutor Adiel Jansen told the court on Wednesday that the director of public prosecutions had directed him not to oppose bail.
Jansen said Horn was a law enforcement officer who “has co-operated with the investigating officer throughout. He voluntarily handed himself over [and] there has been confiscation of his firearm.”
He said Horn would not perform any law enforcement duties and would be tasked only with administrative work.
“The investigation officer said the accused does not possess a passport,” said Jansen.
“The investigation is complete and there is no fear of interference with the investigation.”
Jansen said more evidence would emerge later and “that is why we are proceeding with murder [charges] because there are grounds”.
Horn's attorney John Riley said: “As the defence, it [the shooting] was an extremely tragic event.”
He emphasised that Horn and the City of Cape Town had co-operated with the investigation from the beginning.
In an affidavit, read by Riley in court, Horn said the investigating officer asked him to present himself so that he could be “arrested and processed” in March but that was postponed.
“The event has been extremely tragic,” Horn said in the affidavit. “I have received psychological help.”
He said he had no idea who the state witnesses were. “In any event, I have no intentions of interfering with the investigation.
“The service firearm had been seized as [an] exhibit. I am not a danger to the public. I have no intention of leaving South Africa. I have lived in South Africa all my life. I submit that the investigating officer and the prosecution are not opposed to my release on bail.”
The court granted him R5,000 bail.
Sigcu's widow Jenny, and his relatives, burst into uncontrollable sobs after the court announced its decision.
The SA Police and Allied Workers Union (Sapawu) welcomed the arrest.
“Sapawu is pleased that the suspect in Sigcu's killing has been finally charged and brought to court,” said union spokesperson Linda Bhayi.
“We believe that nobody is above the law in this country. Murder is a schedule 6 offence and must be treated as such. We believe that once the director of public prosecutions gives the go-ahead for someone to be prosecuted, there's a prima facie case against the accused.”
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