Top cop's brother in death riddle

2012-01-30 11:01

Pietermaritzburg - South Africa's top cop, Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, had the grim task of identifying his dead policeman brother on Sunday, and then conveying the news to their mother.

Skhumbuzo Mkhwanazi, 32, a constable in the public order police unit, had apparently been socialising with friends in downtown Pietermaritzburg on Friday night.

He was allegedly involved in an altercation with a fellow policeman, who stopped his Toyota Tazz after a minor scrape in the early hours of Saturday morning.

His car was said to have struck the side mirror of another car when he made a U-turn outside the Watson Hotel.

Police, believed to be from the tactical response team, apparently gave chase and succeeded in stopping Mkhwanazi’s car near Makro.


After he was disarmed of his service firearm, a scuffle allegedly ensued between Mkhwanazi and police officers, following which he was believed to have fled and vanished into the bush next to the road.

The Witness was told the only visible injury to his body appeared to be a small laceration on his cheek.

The cause of his death, however, remains a mystery.

Indications are that he may have tripped over a tree stump, falling about five metres down an embankment and landing in the long grass which concealed his body.

A high-profile investigation is under way to probe his death.

On Sunday morning, acting national police commissioner, Lieutenant General Mkhwanazi, 38, paid a brief visit to the scene where his brother’s body lay to “see for himself” before leaving to break the news to their mother.

He later told The Witness he was not in a position to discuss his younger brother’s death, which he regarded as a “private matter”.

He indicated that the family wanted to be left alone to grieve privately.


The discovery of his brother’s body followed a long search which began in the early hours of Saturday when the younger Mkhwanazi was allegedly involved in the altercation with police who apparently knew him.

KwaZulu-Natal provincial police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker, who also attended the scene where the body was found, said the cause of death would only be determined by a post-mortem and inquest.

Naicker said police would investigate all possibilities, including that Mkhwanazi may have suffered a heart attack, died as a result of a fall or even as a result of a possible assault.

“At this stage we cannot say whether the witnesses who have made a report are telling the truth or if there is more to the matter, but we will get to the bottom of it,” said Naicker; “It does seem rather perplexing.”

The Witness was told that police searched for Mkhwanazi immediately after he allegedly ran off, but could not find him in the dark.

At first light on Sunday a “line search” conducted by Mkhwanazi’s colleagues in the public order police unit as well as the dog unit, found him lying in the long grass.

Mkhwanazi was single and lived with his mother in the Oribi area.

His brother was appointed acting police chief after President Jacob Zuma suspended General Bheki Cele in October last year pending an inquiry into his fitness to hold office.

  • Ben - 2012-01-30 11:07

    It is hard to lose a brother. My sincere condolences.

      ivan.coetzee2 - 2012-01-30 13:51

      Agreed. Condolences to the grieving family and friends

      Sean - 2012-01-30 22:56

      Condolences , R.I.P

      John - 2012-01-30 23:50

      Condolences to the grieving family and friends. A high-profile investigation is under way to probe his death. WHY HIGH PROFILE? should be the same profile as every other cop's death? A woman police captain was killed by a nigerian drug and children trafficker, and where is the high profile investigation?

  • dave.j.colquhoun - 2012-01-30 11:12

    My sympathies to the Mkwahanazi family. A tragic loss.

  • Thokozane - 2012-01-30 11:13

    Condolences to the family.

  • Jay - 2012-01-30 11:14

    Death of a policeman is never a good thing, but as my old pappy used to say....."nothing good ever happens after 22h00 at night" Drinking!!!!

      The-third - 2012-01-30 11:18

      Nothing wrong with the phuza... just get the transport to take you home ne.

      Warmonger - 2012-01-30 21:10

      Or phuza at home! Cheaper, safer, and you save money as you do not have to bribe spietkops on your way home!!

  • Andre - 2012-01-30 11:51

    Why did he run away from the police, he is one of them? Some people seem to run away every time they are caught or involved in a vehicle incident!

      Sharon - 2012-01-30 12:50

      If he was off duty as stated .........WHY have his service pistol with him and why was it taken away????? alcohol and firearms never good together,

      Jou - 2012-01-30 15:11

      After one too many cases of Castle he became just another common criminal. Running from a fellow policeman is not too intelligent is it...running is an admittance of guilt and for his stupidity he got himself killed in a stupid way. The stupids outweigh the clevers in this case and the punishment was a one way ticket to the farm. Aich!!

  • Newsreader - 2012-01-30 11:57

    ...sounds like a drunken brawl who turn out to be members of the police. It was dark and no witnesses.......and the plot thickens!

      alansmartSnr - 2012-01-31 02:20

      .... and another one bites the dust!

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2012-01-30 12:17

    This just shows that God is not stupid unfortunately it was revealed in a tragic manner that you influenced the hiring of your younger brother. We wouldn't have known that your younger brother was also a police until his mysterious death. This just shows that those who have influential positions can easily practice nepotism and it has been also a trend in Sandf and other civilian departments, parastatals and private sectors. These people treat workplaces like monarchs.

      bobby.mykonos - 2012-01-30 12:26

      The guy was a constable, which is a junior position. How can you accuse him of nepotism, when pretty much anyone can apply for a job in the Police force? and then you bring God into it too...

      Stan - 2012-01-30 12:45

      You are right. God isn't stupid, but you are.

      Mfazepepa - 2012-01-30 13:03

      You are sick, there can be 2 or more police even in your family. Be serious and look for a job if you cant find one and leave serious people alone!

      Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2012-01-30 13:26

      @ Bobby, he younger than the acting commisioner and I'm not acussing him I'm acussing his elder brother.*reread the article* @ Stan, you might the typical example of stupidity. @ Mfazewetoiletpepa, are the serious person you are referring to? Death is death, whether is a son of the president or whatever. It still brings grief and hollow spaces in the hearts of those left behind.

      Cindy - 2012-01-30 14:53

      Please provide this forum with the evidence you have that proves that this young mans position in the SAPS came about through nepotism..... just asking because I saw no mention of allegations of nepotism or proof thereof in the article

      owamin1 - 2012-01-30 14:59

      @Tshivhombela - How in the name of all things holy do you arrive at a conclusion that Mkhwanazi hired his younger brother? I come from a family where law enforcement is in our blood - and cousins have become police officers simply because it runs in the family. No one recruited anyone else. If you are going to argue, then get the facts straight and try to show your logic. Don't create causal links where they don't exist.

      Jou - 2012-01-30 15:16

      Not anyone bobby. My mate retired in the 90's as a captain and reapplied in 2010. He has extensive experience in foresnic investigations and lectures all over the world..but he is still waiting. If you white, you are not right for the new Powlees Farce.

      Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2012-01-30 15:56

      That's my view and if people wants further investigations on my comments then it is should be their roles to do so. I don't comment simply to please the majority but I write to express my views and the way readers take it it's up to them.

      Jason - 2012-01-30 18:55

      Tshivhombela - So you are saying that the younger brother died because his older brother might or might not have organized him a job - and because God isnt stupid - if this is your reasoning you have failed horribly and deserve a refund on your education-go back to primary school!!

      Ken - 2012-01-31 06:52

      What are you actually trying to say ?

  • Jabu - 2012-01-30 12:20

    Amaberets!!!!! Why am I not surprised.

      ivan.coetzee2 - 2012-01-30 14:40

      WTF are "Amaberets" please??

  • Jacqueline - 2012-01-30 12:25

    Sad :(

  • Willie - 2012-01-30 12:38

    ".. high-profile investigation is under way to probe his death.." What about others ?

  • Nyiks11 - 2012-01-30 13:07

    askies Mr Commissioner , the loss of a sibbling is very traumatic . . .I lost my brother in law in 2010 and to date my wife and brothers in law have not fully recovered .

  • resend - 2012-01-30 13:21

    Condolences to the family and please anything happen with god intentions and that really need some times to live with especially happening while been a police by the police (what about a civilain with no position that means police brutality is the main thing in the force.

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-01-30 13:26

    Very sorry to hear this. Deepest condolences to the National Commissioner

  • Senene - 2012-01-30 14:26

    Allehlanga lungelanga mfana kamkhwanazi, aphumule ngoxolo. Sinani emithatndazweni

  • Brolloks - 2012-01-30 15:51

    Hey Jabu, Why do you think my comment was removed? Did I hit a nerve with the SAPS or did you report it?

      Erich - 2012-01-30 15:59

      SAme happened to my comments.

      Jabu - 2012-01-30 16:15

      Hey dude, I did not report it.Truth is the "Amaberets" (Tactical response unit) is ruthless and brutal. in some cases, they do a good job, but what I have witnessed happen in the ?????? area was pure brutality.

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