Only a matter of time before final suspect in Sadia Sukhraj killing is caught – Cele

2018-05-31 18:00
Police Minister Bheki Cele. (File, Craig Nieuwenhuizen)

Police Minister Bheki Cele. (File, Craig Nieuwenhuizen)

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The final assailant on the run, following the killing of Sadia Sukhraj, is a hardened criminal who will be caught, Police Minister Bheki Cele says.

"We are chasing the last one now. We have identified the criminal, we just have to pick him up. Even when we arrest them, we hope he will spend a long time in prison," Cele said outside the Sukhraj home on Thursday.

Cele was visiting "to show support for the family".

He said the assailants in the killing of the nine-year-old girl were hardened criminals. In particular, he said the accused in custody, Sibonelo Mkhize, 32, had previously been imprisoned.

"He was sentenced to seven years in 2013 for a string of charges, from attempted murder to car hijacking. He was big on car hijacking. Perhaps it will be good to speak with colleagues in the judiciary to keep them there for longer. However, we cannot tell them what to do. By the looks of things. he is a seasoned criminal. He is hardcore."

ALSO READ: KZN MEC vows to bring remaining Sadia Sukhraj suspect to book

He added that the other deceased suspect and the one on the run were also seasoned criminals.

"They have a history of criminal activities."

Mkhize appeared in the Durban Magistrate's Court on Thursday and was being held in custody until July 18 for his bail application.

Cele said he had instructed Community Safety and Liaison MEC Mxolisi Kaunda to give the Shallcross community special attention.

"This is an area we need an extra focus in. We will try hard to repair relationships between police and the community. We cannot allow that kind of conflict. Criminals will be happy when there is a gap between the community and police."

Brimming emotions

Cele shared an emotional moment with Pastor Shailendra Sukhraj, the father of little Sadia. As he walked in, Sukhraj, who was already brimming with emotion, broke down.

He teared up as he greeted the police minister.

Speaking to the family, Cele said it was impossible for anyone to understand their pain.

"I came as soon as I could. We will never be able to know your pain. We would be lying if we said we did. While we feel the pain, we can never understand it as you do."

He added: "Whatever happens in the investigation, I assure you, we will not put you through anymore pain."

Engaging with the community

Following the visit to the family home, Cele attended a public meeting at the Chatsworth Youth Centre.

Here, he promised to return to Chatsworth in 14 days to engage with the community in depth.

"There have been issues of visibility of police members. We have heard this. Let's give explanations. Let's work on those things."

Cele said drugs were also an issue in the community.

"When we go for drugs, we must not go for small fish. You will help us give the list of sharks. We don't want sardines."

Cele went on to give out his cell number to residents and coaxed other senior officers to do the same.

"I will be back in 14 days," he emphasised.

Read more on:    bheki cele  |  durban  |  crime

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