IPID probe for PMB cops

2017-07-19 06:03
PHOTO: ian carbutt (File)The hijacked vehicle used by the five alleged robbers who shot at police with four handguns during a high-speed chase in Hilton in March. A police officer was shot in the chin before police shot the suspects.

PHOTO: ian carbutt (File)The hijacked vehicle used by the five alleged robbers who shot at police with four handguns during a high-speed chase in Hilton in March. A police officer was shot in the chin before police shot the suspects.

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THE portfolio committee on police is looking into alleged unprofessional behaviour by Mountain Rise police in an incident where five alleged gangsters were shot dead in a shootout with officers, who chased their hijacked car.

Their action comes after e-mails were sent by KwaZulu-Natal Violence Monitor Mary de Haas to the committee and Mountain Rise station commander Colonel “Boxer” Pillay, detailing allegations concerning the conduct of officers involved in the incident.

Families are crying foul after officers allegedly circulated photos on social media of their dead relatives, before they were even notified.

They also allege an officer “boasted” during a talk at a high school about killing Sthabiso Ngcobo (19), who was reportedly shot six times.

Ngcobo, Thokozani Njabulo Khan­yile (30), Thuso Lebohang Kuali (21), Siyabonga Siphesihle Mfeka (23) and Ntobeki Mpumelelo Mswane (28) were shot dead in the incident on March 29.

Portfolio committee member Phillip Mhlongo confirmed on Tuesday they were looking into the incident.

“We will make [the Independent Police Investigative Directorate] have a look at it and recommend a line of action. We have received a number of complaints about police in KZN, and our oversight in the province [at the end of this month] will focus on the effectiveness of IPID in the province.”

Spokesperson for Mountain Rise station, Captain Gay Ebrahim, confirmed the case was under investigation at the Durban K9 unit, but would not comment further. The investigating officer would also not comment as he is not authorised to speak to media.

One e-mail from De Haas referred to the talk the officer gave to a Pietermaritzburg school: “It is alleged that one of the speakers ... used the Hilton shooting as an example of what the police do to criminals.”

When pupils shouted Ngcobo’s name, the officer is alleged to have said “I’m glad you know him. You can go tell his family too I don’t care.”

Allegations about the circulation on social media of photos of those who died were also in the e-mails. A family member of one of the men said: “The photos ended up on social media. I had to go and comment on posts asking people to take it down.”

Another relative of one of the deceased said: “What was the point of putting it on social media? No one from the police notified us.”

A third relative said they were offered legal help after The Witness ran the story in April. “We want to know if the police now have a mandate to kill instead of fighting crime. We are working hard in building our case.”

IPID did not respond to questions yesterday concerning the status of their investigation.

The Witness has reported recently on numerous incidents of violent police clashes:

In December, nine gang members were shot dead in Howick in a standoff with a specialised police task force.

Also that month, five gunmen en route to Durban, and with links to robberies in Mariannhill, were shot dead by the Hawks in Port Shepstone.

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