Captain on murder charge

2013-01-24 00:00

A DURBAN police captain who killed a man during the so-called “KFC shoot-out” with robbers has been charged with murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) said Captain Justice Dladla shot and killed a suspect who had already been neutralised.

Dladla had responded as back-up in a shoot-out between other officers and robbers who were armed with automatic assault rifles.

The shoot-out took place at a KFC outlet in New Germany last year. Detective Constable Ajith Krishanlal was killed. Detective Constable Jerome Ngoma survived after being shot four times.

Dladla was arrested early yesterday at the Pinetown police station and made a brief appearance in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court.

He said in an affidavit that he intended to contest the charges.

Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini said investigations had established that there had been a significant amount of interference with the crime scene and that there had been a cover-up of a murder.

“At the time it was reported that the suspect was shooting at the police captain. An investigation was conducted and it has revealed that this version was false,” said Dlamini.

Dladla’s lawyer, Sifiso Sithole, said the state did not have a case. He told the court that one of the robbery suspects arrested in connection with the shooting was already serving a life sentence for Krishanlal’s murder, while another had appeared in court and been refused bail.

Prosecutor Stan Miloszewski said the state needed an adjournment while awaiting the results of ballistic tests.

Dladla was released on warning and was ordered to return to court on March 6.

The Krishanlal family criticised the decision to charge Dladla. Family spokesperson Joe Puran said the decision was unfair because Dladla had been doing his job.

“He came as back-up and he was trying to save his colleagues. This is so unfair because the police are supposed to protect people and each other from criminals. This does not sound right. I feel for the cop and we will support him,” he said.

Puran said Krishanlal’s family had never recovered from his death and his two children were still finding it difficult to accept that their dad was no longer around.

An officer who asked not to be named said: “He [Dladla] was on duty when he was arrested.

“They [Ipid] didn’t have to handcuff him in full view of everybody at the station. That was just wrong.”

Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union provincial secretary Kwenza Nxele said the Ipid should understand that policemen put their lives in danger when they faced criminals.

“They need to be able to protect themselves,” Nxele said. “Also, none of these organisations stick up for the dead cops and their families.

“We do not agree with being trigger-happy, but surely a policeman must be able to protect himself.”

• ayanda.mdluli@witness.co.za

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