Burglary: Cops hurt in shootout

2013-05-29 00:00

TWO policemen were shot and injured during a shootout with suspected burglars in Mpumalanga township yesterday.

One suspected burglar was shot dead while the other fled during the shooting.

The early morning shootout occurred at the Makhabazela takeaway in Shangase Road, Unit 2 Extension of Mpumalanga township.

Shocked residents told The Witness that the drama started at about 1 am when two men tried to break into the shop, in a container.

Police were called and the suspects managed to escape. When they returned to finish the job an hour later, police chased them.

One ran off while the other hid near the road. As the police approached him, the suspect allegedly opened fire.

The dead man was identified as Phumlani Mkhize (35).

Both Constable Mpumelelo Mdaweni (36) and Constable Zebrone Bhengu (35) are in a stable condition in hospital. It is alleged that the suspects were attempting to steal an electricity cable and to open the door of the container.

The father of the shot suspect, Bheki Mkhize, said he was awakened by police who come to his house wanting him to identify his dead son.

“They asked me where my child was and I couldn’t tell them as he was not at home. They asked me to go with them to where he was shot,” said Mkhize.

“I was shocked to see his lifeless body in a pool of blood.

“I don’t know what happened. He was a child like any other child. He was a churchgoing person. I don’t know what he was doing with his friends,” said Mkhize.

The owner of the Makhabazela takeaway, Ntombi Ziqubu, told The Witness thieves have stolen copper cable at her shop four times and that her neighbours had also been affected by this.

“I have been reporting this to the police and the cables have been replaced several times, but [yesterday the alleged thieves] were noticed by the neighbours who called the police.” said Ziqubu.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said the police came under fire after attending to the complaint and confronting the suspects.

“Police retaliated and one suspect was fatally wounded …” said Naicker.

Police seized a Norinco pistol with the serial number removed.

He said a case of attempted murder was opened and the arrest of the man who fled is imminent.

Independent Police Investigative Directorate spokesperson Moses Dlamini said they are investigating the murder.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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