Cop held for murder

2014-03-05 00:00

THE worst nightmare of the family of a Prestbury policeman was realised when he was gunned down, but not in the line of duty as they had always feared.

Instead, a female colleague has been arrested for the shooting after she handed herself over to police.

The family of Constable Bongani Lembethe (29) are still in shock after he was killed at Signal Hill as he returned home from work on Monday night.

In a shock move last night, police announced that a female constable had been arrested at the Vryheid police station in connection with his murder.

Police said she had handed herself over to them yesterday.

She will appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court soon, facing a charge of murder.

A firearm believed to have been used during the killing was seized from the policewoman.

Constable Lambethe was returning home to his simplex in Pineview Terrace when he was shot multiple times in the face at around 7.50 pm.

The killer fled the scene.

His younger sister, Thuli Lembethe (28), said the family are still recovering from the loss of her twin sister who died in July last year. “Not a year has passed and we are now having to deal with the death of our only brother,” she said.

A tearful Lembethe yesterday said she got a call from her brother’s fiancée, Sindi Khanyile, who said she heard gunshots outside their home.

“By then we knew that our worst nightmare had come true. We were always worried that as a policeman, Bongani might be killed in the line of duty,” she said.

Lembethe said what was even more shocking was that he had knocked off from work, only to have his killer waiting for him at home.

“My brother parked his car in the garage and before he could go inside his house, he was shot dead. We were told there was no argument; all that was heard were gunshots,” said Lembethe.

“Who could possibly do this because my brother had no enemies and was the nicest person who was full of jokes and had a good sense of humour?” said Lembethe.

She said her brother joined the police service when he was only 23, in 2008.

She said although the family did not like the idea of his becoming a police officer, they had to accept his career choice due to the high level of unemployment.

He was preparing to get married this year, said Lembethe.

She said he left behind his two daughters, Yolanda (5) and Ziyanda (2), two sisters and his mother and fiancée.

As relatives and friends gathered at the home to comfort the family yesterday, police officers were speaking to Khanyile in one of the bedrooms.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said the slain officer, who was a member of the SAPS Pietermaritzburg Cluster Tactical Response Team, had sustained multiple gunshot wounds to his face.

He said police were alerted by Lembethe’s fiancée, who was inside the home at the time.

Naicker said when she went to investigate, she discovered his lifeless body on the ground.

He said the attacker left the policeman’s service pistol and wallet behind.

Provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni expressed her condolences to the deceased’s family.

“We will do everything within our control to bring the killers to book as soon as possible.” she said.

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