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2023/08/14      |  Written By:  Colonel P Naidu   |   Province:  Eastern Cape

Zwelitsha: 13 August 2023: Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen Nomthetheleli Mene has called on police officials to continue to be vigilant on and off duty to curb the attacks and killing directed at them during the life-threatening situations that constantly face them. This appeal was made following an attack on police officials while on duty on Friday evening, 11/08 in Zwide as well as the fatal killing of an off duty Sergeant in Tsolo last night, 12/08.

In the first incident, it is alleged that at approximately 22:10 on 11/08, two SAPS Kwazakele members were on duty when they stopped at the corners of Malcomson and Mbolekwa Streets in Zwide to ascertain if all was in order at a local shop. The driver was out of the vehicle at the time. His colleague who was still in the vehicle was approached by an unknown male who was banging on the window. At the same time, shots were fired at the officers and the Sergeant who was outside returned fire. The Sergeant sustained three gunshots wounds (arm and legs).

While investigators were busy at the crime scene, it was established that the alleged suspect was lying, injured in a yard in Mgona Street in Zwide with a gunshot wound to the chest. A 9mm pistol (serial number removed) was found next to him. Both the injured Sergeant and the suspect were taken to hospital for treatment. The suspect, aged 30 years old is arrested on charges of attempted murder and possession of a prohibited firearm. He is expected to appear in court soon.

In another unrelated incident, police are searching for a friend of 50 year old Sergeant who was shot and killed while off duty last night, 12/08 at Langeni Sawmill location in Tsolo. It is alleged that at about 21:40, the police official and his friend were drinking at the local tavern. When they left, security guards heard gunshots and on investigating, found the policeman dead inside his vehicle. He sustained multiple gunshot wounds. The friend had disappeared with the police officer’s service pistol. The officer was identified as Sgt Obey Sotewu from the Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit in Mthatha.

The motive is unknown as yet and police are searching for the suspect. An arrest is imminent. Lt Gen Mene has iterated that any act of violence against  police officers is an attack on the very fabric of our society. ‘ We will not tolerate such behaviour and those responsible will be held accountable. Our police officers are the backbone of the community and an attack on them is an attack on all of us. We mourn the loss of Sgt Sotewu and extend our condolences to his family and loved ones, added Lt Gen Mene.