Traffic cop was engaged

2013-09-24 00:00

THULI Nhlengethwa, the young traffic officer who was killed by a speeding car on the N2 Spaghetti Junction on Sunday morning, was to get married at the end of the year.

Yesterday, her fiancé Mdu Zwane said he had no words to explain how heartbroken he is after her death, leaving him with their two children, aged three and 13 years respectively.

“She was taken away from me and our two children. Yes, what’s done is done, but this is not one of those things that you just forget about easily. We were planning to get married towards the end of this year, and that dream has just been taken away in a blink of an eye,” said Zwane.

He said ilobolo (bride’s price) has been paid and that they were busy handling the “final touches” of the wedding process.

“She left this huge gap, a gap that I will have to explain to our children at some point.”

Nhlengethwa’s younger brother, Musa, said their parents were in a bad place after the news of his sister’s death.

“I’m the only one left in the family. Our mother is unemployed and our father does temporary jobs from time to time. The parents can’t even speak about this. They just keep on saying it should have been them who died in my sister’s place. They are devastated,” said Musa.

On Sunday morning, Nhlengethwa and some colleagues were busy with speed monitoring on the highway when she tried to flag down an Audi without licence plates travelling at 141 km per hour.

After hitting her, the driver sped off, managing to elude the police who chased after him. The car was ditched in Booth Road, and police only managed to find the passenger. It was established that the car was reported stolen in Gauteng.

While talking to The Witness yesterday, Zwane and Nhlengethwa’s brother were loading his sister’s belongings on a truck to be sent back to Newcastle, her hometown.

He said his sister always said she would work hard to give her children a better future.

Nhlengethwa joined the Road Traffic Inspectorate in 2005 and went to traffic college in 2006. A senior official who worked closely with her in the RTI Durban region, said she had a bright future ahead of her in the service.

“She was the first female officer to be trained to operate the ANPR [camera] vehicle in the Durban region in 2008.”

The ANPR vehicle has a camera that enables the driver to determine if any vehicle on the same road as the car it is mounted on was stolen or unroadworthy. She said Nhlengethwa formed part of the team that dealt with warrants and outstanding fines and worked throughout the province.

“Thuli woke up in the morning to go and save people’s lives, unaware that her own life was at risk. We are still in shock as her colleagues, and for us to get closure we appeal to whoever did this to have a conscience and hand himself to the police,” she said.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said the suspect was still at large.

The Daily News yesterday quoted Naicker saying the passenger was a plumber whom the driver had picked up to do some work at his house, and that his story had been confirmed. He said that the passenger did not know the address of the driver, but has given the police the driver’s description.

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