KZN officer first cop to be killed this year

2015-01-05 00:00

A WELL-RESPECTED police officer was gunned down in the line of duty in northern KwaZulu-Natal, marking the first police death for 2015.

Constable Nokukhanya Sibiya (30) — who had been in the service of the SAPS for just over two years — was fatally shot while giving chase on two hijackers on Saturday afternoon.

Her death has led to an outpouring of condolences from within the force and provincial government, while she leaves two children — aged 11 and three — motherless.

A close relative to Sibiya, Gugu Ntombela, told The Witness that the family is going through a “difficult time”. “She was like a daughter to me. Sibiya was also a well-known and respected person in our community. She always visited home whenever she was off duty to spend time with her family,” she said.

KwaMsane police station commander Colonel Michael Nkosi described Sibiya as one of the most dedicated police officers in his station.

He said: “Sibiya was the only female patrolling with male officers on the day of her shooting. She was always in line to fight crime whenever she was called to a police operation.

“Her death came in as a shock, but we are glad that both perpetrators were apprehended,” he said.

Sibiya was a volunteer in the police service from 2008 to 2010 at Mtubatuba police station. She then qualified as a police officer in 2011 and found her permanent position in 2012 at KwaMsane police station.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Community Safety Willies Mchunu said this incident follows that of Constable Simiso Clement Zondi who was killed on Christmas Day while out to investigate a matter related to illegal firearms at eMatimatolo in Greytown.

Mchunu expressed “grave concerns” at the murder of two police officers by criminals in less than 10 days.

Mchunu also urged communities in KwaZulu-Natal to support and back police officers to isolate criminals.

Provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni extended her “heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the late Constable Sibiya”.

In a statement, the SAPS said that two men, aged 29 and 35, involved in the shooting opened fire and shot Sibiya before they left their car, hijacked a week earlier near Richards Bay, and fled on foot to a nearby bush.

Both men were later apprehended by police and arrested. They are expected to appear in KwaMsane Magistrate’s Court today, facing charges of murder, possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition, and possession of a car suspected to be stolen. The 35-year-old will be further charged with two counts of rape.

The family has not confirmed the date for Sibiya’s funeral.

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