Senior traffic cop shot dead

2016-01-15 13:00
The crashed NPC vehicle that the gunman used as a getaway vehicle. The man is believed to have lost control while driving in the France township.

The crashed NPC vehicle that the gunman used as a getaway vehicle. The man is believed to have lost control while driving in the France township. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Police have launched a city-wide manhunt for a municipal worker who is suspected of shooting a high-ranking municipal traffic police manager at the Washington Road traffic department in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday.

Superintendent Pumla Dlamini, the acting manager of public safety, died in hospital after being shot five times with a 9 mm pistol, allegedly by one of his staff.

The suspected gunman, whose name is known to The Witness, escaped in a vehicle belonging to the city and fled into France township. There he lost control of the vehicle, crashing at the roadside.

It is believed the man, who was in charge of the armoury, then got into an unmarked private taxi — believed to be a Mazda 323 — which sped off ­towards Imbali.

Police spokesperson Mthokozisi Ngobese said Dlamini, from Durban, and the staff member were involved in a heated argument in the former’s ­office when the shots were fired at about 3.30 pm on Thursday afternoon.

Four bullets were apparently fired ­into Dlamini’s stomach and another into his head.

When The Witness arrived at the traffic department offices on Thursday, paramedics could be seen working ­feverishly to treat Dlamini.

Msunduzi Municipality acting spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said he was rushed to a hospital in the city in a “bad condition”.

“He [Dlamini] is in ICU in an ­induced coma and is currently waiting to go into theatre. It is very bad,” she said on Thursday afternoon.

Dlamini died at about 6.30 pm. His family, who had gathered at the ­hospital, broke down in tears.

Police found the municipal car used as the getaway vehicle by the alleged gunman on its side at France township.

It is believed the man lost control of the car while taking a sharp bend at high speed on the wet road.

According to residents, who rushed out of their homes when they heard the loud sound of the crash, they saw the driver limping into the white Mazda, which sped off towards Imbali.

“We did not hear any tyres ­screeching. All we heard was a very loud noise and we thought a tree had fallen onto a house,” one resident said.

When The Witness went to print ­on Thursday, police had still not located the gunman.

Under pouring rain back at the Washington Road offices, Dlamini’s colleagues stood crying and shaking.

A source told The Witness the gunman had gone into Dlamini’s office and “closed the door behind him”. They ­believed the man was given an “official letter” that may have triggered the ­incident. The source, however, could not confirm the contents of the letter.

“He [Dlamini] is a decent and ­respectable senior official. I just cannot believe this has happened and especially while we are still reeling from the shooting at the AS Chetty building last year,” said one colleague in the afternoon.

Madonda said Dlamini’s colleagues would receive counselling.

It is believed Dlamini joined the Msunduzi Municipality’s traffic department a few years ago, after lengthy service at the eThekwini and uMhlathuze (Richards Bay) municipalities.

Msunduzi municipal risk manager Kwenza Khumalo, who had just learnt of the incident when he was asked to comment, said he was in “too much of a traumatic space to think or ­comment”.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder  |  traffic  |  shooting

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