Police murder: suspect in court

2011-05-04 00:00

A 30-YEAR-OLD man arrested for the murder of a Durban police constable and her fiancé made a brief court appearance yesterday.

The accused, Tshepo Nzimande, was arrested in Phoenix on Monday morning, and was later handed over to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, the Hawks, since the case has been given high priority.

Constable Thando Nonhlanhla Zakwe (24), who worked for the Durban Port Security Service, and her boyfriend Sibahle Blessing Buthelezi (24) were shot and killed in front of Zakwe’s house in Avocado Grove in Avoca Hill on the evening of April 27. Buthelezi was working as a data typist at Greenwood Park police station.

Police tracked down Nzimane, who is Buthelezi’s relative, to Phoenix.

It is unclear what he was doing there. It is believed that he was found in possession of a firearm, which is yet to be linked to the murder.

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela said during the investigation, police established that the murder had something to do with a family dispute.

“We then started to look at the members of the family,” he said.

He said the case was handed to the Hawks because the victims were employed by the South African Police Serivce.

“We are talking about two people (deceased), who are SAPS employees. We also take into consideration the number of police officers who have been killed. If it was elsewhere around the world the case would be be prioritised,” he said.

It is believed that Zakwe, who was shot on the back, was heavily pregnant and doctors failed to save the foetus’s life.

Buthelezi was shot in the head and chest. They were seated and talking in an Opel Corsa vehicle when they were attacked.

According to a Durban-based Zulu daily newspaper, the accused allegedly held a grudge against Buthelezi for facilitating his arrest some years ago.

Polela said for now Nzimande has been charged for being in possession of the firearm. He appeared at Verulam Magistrate’s Court yesterday, and his case was postponed until May 9.

“When he returns to court he will be charged with two murders,” Polela said.

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