Cop's chilling warning before shooting

2013-10-18 10:41
(File, Nielen de Klerk, News24)

(File, Nielen de Klerk, News24)

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Pietermaritzburg - "Please take care of my children.”

That was the cryptic message from a respected Pietermaritzburg policeman to his mother-in-law before drawing his gun and shooting her daughter on Thursday morning.

Having received a cry for help, the anxious mother was unable to reach her daughter before her enraged husband opened fire.

Constable Mthandeni Cyril Sibisi, 36, from the Loop Street police station, shot and seriously wounded his wife Nana Sibisi, 31, a lecturer at the eThekwini FET College, as she made her way to work.

Sibisi then turned the gun on himself in the quiet road in Sweetwaters. He died at the scene. Nana, who was shot in the mouth, is in a critical condition in hospital.

Police could not confirm if the officer had used his service pistol in the shooting.

Marital problems

According to Nana’s relatives, the couple had been having marital problems and she had recently moved out with their two children to live with her mother.

She commuted between Durban and Pietermaritzburg daily, leaving for work in the early morning.

Nana’s mother, Ntombo Mbanjwa, who was at her daughter’s bedside at Medi-Clinic hospital on Thursday, said she had seen Sibisi on Wednesday.

“He had asked me to take care of his children, but at the time I did not understand what he meant. Now I realise that his plan was to do this.”

She said her youngest daughter had received a call for help from Nana early on Thursday morning, saying she had been cornered by Sibisi.

“I tried to phone her several times, but she was not answering, and I asked my sister Lindiwe to accompany me to where they were.

“By the time we got there, they were both on the floor with gunshot wounds,” she said.

A relative of Nana’s, Makhosazana Mbanjwa, confirmed to The Witness that the couple had been experiencing marital problems.

“I can’t tell you what the problems were, but Nana took the children to her mother’s house in the past four days. We were hoping that they would solve the problems they had,” said Makhosazana.

'Good, quiet person'

“He was a good, quiet person that was striving for a better life and living conditions for his family. He was a valuable member of the community and we felt safe when he was around,” said Makhosazana.

She said Nana’s family had rushed to the road from where Nana had phoned her sister for help. As they approached the scene, they heard gunshots. “Nana was screaming for help.”

When The Witness got to the scene, women from the area had already started gathering in the rain and mud. Most wept.

Many said Sibisi was a good man. “Why did he resort to taking his life? If the wife was bringing him pain, he should have left her and not done this,” cried one woman, who would not be named.

Bystanders were stunned at what the respected police officer had done. They stood whispering amongst themselves.

Skhumbuzo Sibisi, the brother of the dead policeman, said he needed to consult with the family before speaking to the media.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said an inquest docket and an attempted murder case had been opened by police.

Stress

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa admitted this week that police are not emotionally and psychologically equipped to handle many stressful conditions of their jobs.

Mthethwa was addressing a summit on suicide prevention for police in Pretoria.

“Police officials deal with high job and task demands on a daily basis. In some of these tasks, police officials must absorb many emotions from the community ranging from anger, frustration, sadness and many more,” he said.

Mthethwa said police have an extended and advanced trauma management system compared to other government departments.

In 2012, Gauteng recorded 26 police suicides, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 23 and North West with 13.

In 2009, the service lost 73 officers to suicides; in 2010 the figure increased to 97; in 2011 there were 85 cases; and in 2012 the figure was 98, the highest annual number of suicides among police officers.

Up until the end of June this year, 34 police officers had killed themselves.

“This is a very bleak picture to say the least,” said Mthethwa.

Tensions in personal relationships, trauma, mental health issues and poor financial management were the main drivers of suicides.

Officers are urged to proactively take responsibility for their personal health and wellness, while commanders are also urged to pay attention to the wellbeing of their subordinates.

Read more on:    police  |  nathi mthethwa  |  pietermaritzburg  |  domestic violence

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