Five suspected cop killers ask to be kept in custody

2014-02-06 22:22
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Malalane - Five of eight people implicated in the murder of an Mpumalanga police constable have asked to be kept in custody for their own safety.

Constable Sfiso Mtsweni, 27, who was once a member of the South African National Defence Force, was shot dead at his home in Langeloop south of Malalane on 8 November 2013.

On Wednesday, the Tonga Regional Court south of Malalane heard that four more people were arrested over the weekend in connection with the murder.

Initially, four suspects - Mpendulo Makamo, 21, Absalom Nkosi, 25, Soneni Mhlabane, 27, and Innocent Lucas Ngomane, 30 - were arrested between November and December last year.

Over the weekend, police arrested another four suspects - Victor Sibiya, 23, Teresa Mabaso, 32, Wiseman Ngomane, 30, and Sindi Mvubu, 23.

State prosecutor Frederick Mhelembe told the court that five of the accused had since waived their rights to bail.

He said Teresa Mabaso, 32, of Langeloop, was granted R2 000 bail on Monday, while Ngomane, of Matsulu township, and Sibiya, of Langeloop, would only be applying for bail on 17 February.

All the accused were not asked to plead to charges of murder conspiracy to commit murder.

The case was postponed to 17 February for Ngomane and Sibiya's bail application.

The policeman's murder outraged local police leaders who railed at his funeral against those who fail to protect cops.

“People have turned into animals. How can we kill each other like this? We know some community members knew about the plan to kill Mtshweni, but they kept quiet," said Stanley Madonsela, chairperson of the Komatipoort Community Police Forum.

Madonsela said police officers should be kept safe in order for them to be able to protect community members.

"The number of police officers is fewer than the number of the general public, so it's in our hands to make sure police are safe so they can protect us.

"I’m wondering where the cellphones cameras were when Sfiso was killed? We have seen a lot of outburst by the public when people were killed by the police and people forget that police are also human beings, not born in a tree. Where is the national media now?” said Madonsela, angrily.

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