Two brothers killed in the line of duty

2017-06-07 13:45
Warrant Officer Ndabezinhle Duncan Zwane’s son, Mfanelo, holds up pictures of his father at their homestead in Mashingini outside Howick on Tuesday while his aunt, Philisiwe Zwane, looks on. Zwane (inset) was gunned down during a shootout with an armed gang in Hammarsdale on Monday.

Warrant Officer Ndabezinhle Duncan Zwane’s son, Mfanelo, holds up pictures of his father at their homestead in Mashingini outside Howick on Tuesday while his aunt, Philisiwe Zwane, looks on. Zwane (inset) was gunned down during a shootout with an armed gang in Hammarsdale on Monday. (Ian Carbutt/Supplied)

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Two brothers, both policemen and both killed in the line of duty.

This is the tragedy that has unfolded for the family of 45-year-old Warrant Officer Ndabenhle Duncan Zwane, who was killed in a shootout in Hammarsdale on Monday morning.

Zwane’s younger sister, Lungile, said his death had devastated the family as her older brother, Zakhele, who was a police officer stationed at the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court, was also killed in the line of duty in 1996.

“This incident has opened up old wounds, our older brother was also killed by criminals while on duty and no one was ever arrested,” she said.

Lungile said Zakhele’s death was one of the reasons Ndabenhle Zwane joined the force in 1999.

A third brother, Bhekani, is also a policeman at the magistrate’s court.

“He [Ndabenhle] was very sad that we did not get justice for our brother and wanted to join the force to ensure that criminals were prosecuted.

“Little did he know that he too would die at the hands of criminals.”

A tearful Lungile said the family, especially Zwane’s fiancée Nonhlanhla Nhlapho, were having a hard time accepting his death.

“We are very sad. The pain we are feeling is indescribable. He was like a father to us and he loved his family very much. He sent us to school; I’m a social worker today because of him,” she said.

“He assisted us in every way possible and always encouraged us to study to escape poverty. He was even putting our children through school.”

Zwane was killed during an exchange of fire between police and suspected ATM bombers. The eight suspects died in the gunfight.

Lungile said her brother was a committed policeman who loved his job.

“He understood the oath he took when he joined the force.

“He would drop everything when he got a call to attend to a crime scene even when he was off duty. He was very dedicated.”

After joining the force, Zwane was deployed to Bergville with the police Horse Unit before joining the National Intervention Unit (NIU) in 2002.

“I remember when he was still in training for the NIU he would return home with bruises and my mother would discourage him from continuing but he was committed and pushed until he finished the training. Being part of this unit was among some of his proudest achievements,” she said.

Zwane’s eldest son, Mfanelo, said it was unbelievable that his father was gone.

“When we got the call on Monday I thought he was just injured and he would be okay. I spoke to him on Friday asking for money to buy a textbook and he was supposed to deposit the money for me on Monday. I don’t know how we are going to get through this,” he said.

On Tuesday a delegation led by Transport, Community and Safety and Liaison MEC Mxolisi Kaunda and uMgungundlovu deputy cluster commander Brigadier Francis Bantham visited the Zwane homestead in Mashingini, Howick, to offer condolences.

Kaunda described Zwane as a hero for putting his life on the line to curb crime in the province. “We have to honour him by fighting and defeating crime.”

The MEC said five police officers had been killed in the province since the beginning of the year. He urged the community to work with the police and assist in providing intelligence and information on possible threats.

Zwane will be buried in Mashingini on Saturday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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