Police widows sue minister

2010-12-02 12:10

East London - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa faces lawsuits amounting to millions of rands in separate civil cases in the Mthatha High Court brought by widows of police officers, the Daily Dispatch reported on Thursday.

The claims vary from personal injuries to loss of income as a result of their policemen husbands shooting them before taking their own lives.

The claims brought by the women amount to R16m for incidents that occurred between 2003 and 2006.

One of the women, Sanela Dlanjwa, 29, is suing the minister for R5.8m in damages and loss of income after her husband shot her before turning the gun on himself on April 19, 2006. The husband, Thandikhaya Dlanjwa, had been stationed at Ngangelizwe police station in Mthatha.

In another case, Ntombenkosi Hlomza wants Mthethwa to pay her R5.8m for personal injuries, loss of support and funeral expenses.

According to court documents, the 36-year-old mother of four was allegedly shot by her husband, Bongani Hlomza, who then allegedly turned the gun on himself, at the Mthatha police camp on February 13, 2005.

Successful claim

The two cases come after a third widow, Dideka Madyibi, who was shot by her policeman husband, won a R4.5m lawsuit. She claimed she had suffered abuse at his hands, and that numerous appeals to his commanders to have his service pistol taken away were ignored.

The State appealed the award and she died on July 20, 2009, before receiving any payout. Her lawyer, Vuyani Msindo, on Wednesday said the State had lost its appeal and he was waiting for a decision on the amount to be paid by the minister.

Psychologist Geoff Swana said he believed all the cases were the result of stress that developed into severe depression.

"Once a person suffers from depression, they can become suicidal."

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Miranda Mills said police conducted regular internal awareness campaigns to sensitise members against domestic violence. They tested policemen before they received their firearms, the Dispatch reported.

They could also later be declared unfit to carry one.

  • Sizwe - 2010-12-02 13:18

    The fact of the matter is that no-one knows your spouse better than you, thus when you became aware of the possible danger what measures did you take to protect yourself and your children? If none other than to complain to somebody and still stay in such a relationship, you were negligent wrt your own safety and cannot bring the police ministry into your domestic issues....

      Karen - 2010-12-02 13:38

      I agree Sizwe, however heartbreaking and horrific for these women - it is ridiculous to blame the police ministry - the women should do something before the situation turns ugly - I have sympathy with women that are in abusive relationships and end of killing their husbands ...

      April - 2010-12-02 13:47

      Sizwe, you do not know what you are talking about! You are commenting from a safe and uninformed distance. You have no idea what other measures she took.These issues are not only domestic and his comanders were aware that he was unstable, they have to hold some accountability!

      hlumantando.phila - 2010-12-02 13:48

      No Sizwe you are mising the point here.These policemen reached a point in their lives that nothing else matters except dying.Whether these women stayed or moved out these guys would track thme down.It is the right protocol to report to relevant people about the abuse they faced from these men.Reporting it to their commanders was the excellent thing to do cause they(employer)needed to know that the society is not safe as these men are employeed to safeguard them

      Gurswin - 2010-12-02 14:14

      It is about time that policemen and woman leave their pistols at work. Why do they need it when they are off?to kill their families? I am sorry. The SAPD must convince me that members need it at home...

  • Richard - 2010-12-02 14:05

    these women trying an opportunity to make a fortune; I was a policeman for 33 yrs went through everything their husbands did,never shot my wife [or myself]. you married him so take it [ if you burn you arse you gotta sit on the blisters]. the minister of police had nothing to do with it. R5.8M HA HA HA ....LOL ....LYAO 58Cents for a bad joke

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