2019-03-27 06:02
Detective Constable Thandoluhle Mhlongo. PHOTO: supplied

Detective Constable Thandoluhle Mhlongo. PHOTO: supplied

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THE family of the slain Constable from Kranskop welcomed the arrest of three suspects who were apprehended last week in connection with the murder.

The Hawks arrested the suspects, aged between 20 and 32, last week for their alleged role in the lethal shooting of off-duty police officer Detective Constable T handoluhle­ Mhlongo.

Mhlongo was shot dead after he went to investigate a vehicle that had been repeatedly driving recklessly on a nearby street on March 15.

A bystander, Mazwi Zuke, was shot dead in the shoot out.

The father of the deceased, who is also the chairperson of the Kranskop Community Policing Forum, Jerico Mhlongo said: “I wish the police minister would deploy more officers in the area of Kranskop because it seems like we need more police officers in this area.”

The suspects appeared at the Kranskop Magistrate’s Court on Friday, March 22 and face charges of murder, attempted murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm.

Preliminary investigations revealed that Mhlongo had been at a local food outlet premises at the time of the incident.

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said: “As soon as he walked out, he was fired upon by the occupants of the suspicious vehicle. He managed to pull out his service pistol, but two suspects alighted from their vehicle and continued firing at him.”

Another off-duty Kranskop police officer who was in the vicinity responded to the sounds of gunfire and two of the suspects were shot and wounded during the exchange. Their accomplices managed to drag them into the car and they fled the scene, leaving behind a discarded weapon on the ground.

Mhlongo and Zuke succumbed to the gunshot wounds on the scene while those who were caught in the scuffle were treated at the nearby hospital.

Mulaudzi said: “The Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime unit immediately took over the investigation and launched an intensive manhunt which culminated in the arrest of the two suspects in Durban and Pietermaritzburg respectively with the assistance of the Pietermaritzburg K9 Unit.

“The team first found an abandoned charred Mercedes Benz which was used in the commission of the crime and two deceased on the side of road near Seven Oaks in Greytown.

“Following further investigations, the team responded to information that one of the suspects was seen in the vicinity of the Pietermaritzburg Central Business District. The determined team then caught up with him following a short pursuit.

“A second suspect was apprehended in Durban and the third was traced to Newlands where an unlicensed firearm was retrieved after [the suspect] attempted to flush it down a toilet.”

The National Head of the DPCI, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya, applauded the members for making the arrests.

“The loss of any life through deliberate human behaviour is condemned.

“The efforts by law enforcement who responded to the incident is commendable.

“The investigators are directed to ensure that no stone is left unturned in preparing the case for successful conclusion in court,” Lebeya said.

Police Minister Bheki Cele welcomed the arrest of the suspects involved in the shooting.

“Arrests of this nature continue to be sign of our commitment to the constitutional mandate to enforce the law.

“We will continue to stamp the authority of the state by arresting and prosecuting those that commit such heinous crimes,” Cele said.

Cele also condemned the killing of police and innocent members of the community in the strongest possible terms and further conveyed his condolences to the Mhlongo and Zuke families.

“Nothing must divert or distract our men and woman in blue from creating a safe and secure environment for all people of South Africa,” Cele added.

The suspects are expected to appear in court today, March 27.


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