Investigators try to unravel mystery police deaths

2013-10-08 00:00

POLICE in KwaZulu-Natal are trying to unravel the mystery surrounding the deaths of two of their own in Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

The cause of a deadly crash that claimed the life of a policeman on Town Hill yesterday has raised questions, as some colleagues believe he may have been travelling with a suspect, who was nowhere to be found after the accident.

Warrant Officer Bonginkosi Khoza (45) from the Margate SAPS was killed when the single cab bakkie he was travelling in rolled and first rebounded off the guard rails, before it crashed against a tree.

Khoza was travelling on the N3 southbound and the crash happened on the notorious Apples Bend on Town Hill. No other cars were involved in the accident.

Paramedics said when they arrived at the scene, Khoza had already succumbed to his injuries. His body was found about 90 metres from where the vehicle was located.

Police at the scene said marks on the ground and damage against the guardrails show the bakkie had swerved before rolling over the guardrails and down the embankment.

The load bin of the bakkie was mangled, the cabin had suffered extensive damage from the guardrails and the engine compartment was smashed from hitting the tree.

The officers did not think that Khoza was thrown out of the vehicle.

“The windscreen is not completely broken, which is what would have happened if he was thrown out of the vehicle. We believe he tried to walk [to the top of the bank] and collapsed and died.”

They said the officer had bled heavily from head injuries.

Other sources at the scene said Khoza was not alone at the time of his accident, but that he had been transporting a suspect.

The suspect was, however, nowhere to be seen, nor was a body found despite police dogs repeatedly sniffing the area for any evidence.

Another officer who was aware of the accident, but was not at the scene, confirmed that the officer was transporting a suspect.

“That was my understanding,” he said.

However, provincial police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane was unable to confirm the reports that there was another person in the bakkie with Khoza.

He said Khoza had travelled to Pietermaritzburg for investigation purposes.

He said his understanding was that Khoza had been alone in the bakkie at the time of the accident.

In another case with more questions than answers, the body of Constable Sboniso Oscar Mlambo (33) was found lying outside his car at the Winkelspruit off-ramp early yesterday morning. Colleagues found Mlambo’s body at around 7.45 am.

Mlambo was on his way to work at the exhibit office at the Cato Manor police station when he had stopped and was shot.

Lieutenant Christopher Sibiya from the Cato Manor police station said Mlabo was found on the road and had sustained a single fatal gunshot wound to his right thigh.

“We were contacted by the charge office in the morning and were informed that one of our fellow colleagues had been shot and killed.

“We are not aware of the cause of his death at this stage as a postmortem is yet to be done, but we do suspect it was because of the gunshot wound to his thigh.

“His car was switched off and parked on the side of the off-ramp,” said Sibiya.

Sibiya confirmed that Mlambo was alone in the car and there was no sign of a hijacking or theft. The police are still investigating.

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