Slain Soweto cops were heroes, Phiyega tells families

2015-09-11 07:39
The scene of the shooting in Dobsonville (Thomas Hartleb, News24)

The scene of the shooting in Dobsonville (Thomas Hartleb, News24)

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Dobsonville shaken after cops killed

2015-09-10 12:38

A 50-year-old warrant officer and a 40-year-old constable from the Moroka Police Station were shot on Wednesday in Dobsonville, Soweto, after an alleged gang chase. WATCH

Johannesburg - Deep cries of heartache filled Mantsimane Mchizama's bedroom on Wednesday night as she and her relatives listened to a police official telling them he would be taking them to the place where her husband drew his final breath.

Mantsimane had been sitting quietly on a mattress, surrounded by her three children and relatives as National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega attempted to bring comfort to the family through prayer and song on Thursday night.

Her head and face covered with a scarf, Mantsimane kept her head bowed and wiped her eyes. When Phiyega assured her that her husband's journey to his final resting place would be a dignified one, and that SA Police Service would ensure that her children continued with their schooling, she let out a long and painful cry.

Her son, who was sitting at the edge of the bed, stared curiously at the men and women in blue who were standing in his parent's bedroom.

A candle stood lit in the corner of the bedroom, as Mantsimane and her family listened to Phiyega and Gauteng commissioner Lesetja Mothiba's words of sympathy.

Dobsonville shooting

Her husband, Warrant Officer Samuel Mchizama, 50, and Constable Solly Maluleke, 40, were shot dead in Dobsonville, Soweto, on Wednesday afternoon. Their killers took their service pistols and a rape case docket they had with them.

The two were attached to the family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit.

Mothiba said the police service was deeply hurt by the officers' deaths.

"Our hearts are aching, we are angry. We are very much upset about what happened to our colleagues. They did not deserve to die the way they died," he told the family.

Duki Mchizama, a cousin of Samuel's, told Phiyega and Mothiba that the family felt better knowing that some of the perpetrators had already been apprehended.

"We heard on the news that some of the people involved in what happened have been caught. Thank you for the effort you have made and the support you have given us.

"From the bottom of our hearts, we say continue with the good work you have done as the police.

"You have shown us that our brother was not just a colleague to you... May God be with you all," Duki said.

'To us he's a hero'

Earlier in the night, Phiyega also visited Solly Maluleke's wife Rachel and her family. She has two children, aged 4 and 12, with Solly. Both their birthdays are coming up in October.

After singing a soothing hymn, Phiyega told the family that Maluleke had paid a heavy price for doing what he loved.

"You may have seen in him a husband, your children may have seen in him a father...to us he's a hero.

"A hero that we shall celebrate for many years. The price he has paid [is a] very, very pricey one."

She reassured Rachel that she SAPS would provide her family with support.

"When your mind is clouded, when your emotions are in turmoil, just know that we, the men and women in blue, the family to which your husband has given many years, are here to hold your hand, to embrace you, and we bring to this family our love.

"During a time where you have many questions and little answers, we hope our love will carry you through...and make the burden slightly lighter for you."

A memorial service for the two officers would be held on Tuesday. It was not immediately clear when their respective funerals would be held.

Read more on:    police  |  riah phiyega  |  johannesburg  |  soweto  |  crime

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