Detective tells of robbery that left PMB cop critical

2017-06-13 13:45
Constable Dinesh Govender and his wife Reshmee before the shooting.

Constable Dinesh Govender and his wife Reshmee before the shooting. (File)

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A Mountain Rise detective on Monday described the aftermath of an armed robbery at a factory in Eastwood during which a Pietermaritzburg policeman, Dinesh Govender, was critically wounded in April 2015.

The Pietermaritzburg high court has heard evidence that Govender was shot twice in his chest by two AK47 bullets after he and a colleague, Reginald Iyer, arrived at the scene of a robbery at 4 Cardiff Road on the night of April 28, 2015.

A colleague, Warrant Officer Kavandran Naidoo who was one of the policemen who responded to a radio transmission about the attack on the officers, said when he got there he saw an ADT security vehicle and a marked police vehicle parked at the gate.

He was told that Constable Govender had been shot and saw paramedics at the scene “working on him”.

He later told the court that Govender had appeared to be in “pretty bad way” and was bleeding profusely. “He appeared to be semi-conscious,” he added.

He also said Iyer was traumatised.

“It was visible from his facial expression and the way he was walking around. He was uneasy ... visibly traumatised,” he said.

According to Naidoo, the area where the assailants reportedly opened fire on the two policemen was “strewn with cartridges”.

He said when he and his colleague arrived they were informed that there was still a possibility that the suspects were still on the premises, which was fenced off. He and other policemen had proceeded through the property on foot to search the area.

When they got to a high palisade fence they had concluded that the attackers had fled over the fence, he said.

A message was put out on the radio to police units to be on the lookout for the men, who were described as “well-armed and wearing balaclavas and overalls”.

Naidoo was one of the witnesses who gave evidence yesterday before Judge Jerome Mnguni and an assessor at the trial of three men facing four charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances and attempted murder arising from the incident.

The three men are: Fortune Simphiwe Msomi (31), Style Alex Auto Mgeyane (31) and Sphamandla Welcome Mbonambi (42), all of Hillcrest. The trio have pleaded not guilty to all counts.

A fourth man, Khumbulani Erick Zungu (31) of Pinetown, whose trial was separated from that of his co-accused, pleaded guilty on an earlier occasion and was sentenced by a different court.

A former fifth accused, Thabani Sabelo Shozi, who escaped, is currently still on the run, state advocate Candy Kander told the judge.

According to the state’s indictment the drama unfolded after a robbery at the business premises owned by Chinese nationals Kang Weng and his wife Qizhu Zhen who traded in electrical appliances and rugs.

The state alleges that an armed gang arrived that night to rob the couple and their business of cash and valuables. They confronted the gate guard and held him at gunpoint. They then lay in wait for the owner, Weng, to return as he was out at the time.

On Weng’s arrival the attackers forced the guard to open the gate. They then accosted Weng and threatened him at gunpoint. They also ordered him to unlock the gate and door so access could be gained to the premises and when he failed to comply they broke it open.

Inside they held both Weng and his wife up with firearms. She handed them R80 000 cash. Then they ransacked the premises.

According to the indictment an ADT security official was the first person alerted to the robbery to arrive at the scene. He was accosted at gunpoint by the robbers and deprived of his firearm.

When Constable Govender and Iyer arrived there shortly afterwards the assailants opened fire on them before fleeing the scene taking cash and other valuables with them.

The trial is proceeding.

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