Police partners’ tragic end

2014-01-27 00:00

SIBUSISO Ngwabe (30) was planning to tie the knot soon, while his close friend Vuyani Jafta will mark a month of being married tomorrow.

Now Ngwabe lies dead and Jafta will celebrate his one-month anniversary in a hospital ICU bed after a car, with an apparently drunk, unlicensed driver at the wheel, slammed into their car in the Durban CBD yesterday morning.

Ngwabe died at the scene while Jafta is in a critical condition. The pair were on their way to start a shift at Durban Central police station when the other car apparently skipped the robot and collided with Jafta’s Ford Ikon, which he bought last year, at the intersection of Stanger and Pine streets.

The two officers, both from Umlazi, had formed a lift club and were close friends, said colleagues. They had just dropped off another colleague at a satellite police station at Nicol Square when the accident happened.

According to Rescue Care spokesperson Garrith Jamieson, Jafta was trapped in the wreckage of his car and had sustained critical injuries.

He said advanced life support intervention was needed and Jafta was ventilated while still in the car.

“Paramedics and fire fighters then carefully extricated the critically injured man from the wreckage,” Jamieson said.

Ngwabe’s sister, Ntombenhle Ngwabe (29), said her brother was a sole breadwinner after they lost both of their parents years ago. Ngwabe was not only taking care of his three siblings but also his two children (a six-year-old in Grade One and another child who will be turning two years old next month) who are now left without a dad.

Ntombehle said her brother was a man with a quiet disposition and had dreams of studying further at Unisa.

“This is really a great loss for our family,” Ntombela told The Witness.

The officers were described as hardworking, dedicated and optimistic by the head of the Durban Central community service centre where they worked.

Lieutenant-Colonel Zandile Sibeko, who rushed to the scene when she heard the news, said she was in shock.

She described the officers as her sons.

Sibeko said the two were never involved in corruption, served their community well and were early birds.

“They were not latecomers and didn’t drink or smoke. They’d pray every morning.”

Sibeko said the Durban Central cluster had lost four officers in just one week, including Ngwabe. Among them was an officer who died in an accident involving a truck and was buried at the weekend.

Sibeko said she recently had a brief chat with Ngwabe.

“He came to my office just to greet me. He said he couldn’t start working before showing his face and saying ‘hi’ to me. I couldn’t believe that he was dead.”

She said Ngwabe had a bright future ahead of him, and was engaged and planning to get married this year.

Jafta was married just a month ago.

A colleague, Captain Linda Chiliza, said Ngwabe and Jafta were the best partners she had come across.

“Ngwabe was very, very humble. Nowadays, you don’t find people like that. He was always laughing and very sweet,” she said.

“You’d give them 10 complaints to work on and they’d do it and deliver on time. They were best friends,” she said.

Police spokesperson Captain Khephu Ndlovu said the driver of the other vehicle was arrested for drunken driving. It was also established that he only had a learner’s licence.

Ndlovu said the 31-year-old was driving a car belonging to a friend, who had since opened a docket saying that the car was used without his consent.

The driver is expected to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court today and is facing culpable homicide and drunken driving charges.

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