Sister of slain Dalton cop speaks of family’s heartbreak

2019-10-08 15:00
Celani Gwamanda and Nonhlanhla Mngoma.

Celani Gwamanda and Nonhlanhla Mngoma.

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The younger sister of one of the Dalton police officers who were gunned down last week has spoken of her family’s heartbreak.

Last week two Dalton police officers, Sergeant Celani Gwamanda (40) and Constable Nonhlanhla Mngoma (33), were linked to a break-in at the local Post Office and were shot and killed in a shootout with police from the Hawks and National Intervention Unit. It is believed that the police teams had been investigating a spate of business burglaries in the area.

Several voice messages and chain messages, from unidentified sources, have been making rounds on Whats­App and Facebook alleging that Mngoma and Gwamanda were ambushed, killed and framed.

Speaking to The Witness on Monday, Mngoma’s younger sister, Nonjabulo, said despite still having a lot of questions about what really happened, the family just wants to mourn her sister and move on with their lives as justice would mean nothing for them.

“She was on duty, wearing her police uniform and travelling in a state vehicle. Which police officer would decide to commit crime in police uniform? It doesn’t make sense. But whether it makes sense or not doesn’t matter anymore because she isn’t with us now. Even if it was found that she was killed for nothing and those responsible are arrested, it would mean nothing for us as her family because she’s dead already,” she said.

Nonjabulo said she had to delete Facebook to avoid seeing the gory pictures of her dead sister taken at the scene after the shootout.

“I didn’t know that it was allowed to take such pictures and circulate them on social networks.”

She said the news of her sister’s death, who has two children aged 13 and three years old, came as a huge shock to everyone in her family.

“My mother told me that she last spoke to Nonhlanhla a few hours before she died. Nonhlanhla told our mother that she had to go attend a complaint and that she would call her when she got back. My mother said she was her normal cheerful self.”

Nonjabulo said her family just wanted to mourn her sister and didn’t care much for justice.

“Nonhlanhla has already been convicted by the public and was sentenced to death despite there being no death penalty in South Africa anymore. So, it makes no sense that we fight for her justice because we will never see her again, we will never hug her again and will never get to hear her laugh again ...

“I even wrote on Facebook that I was not going to try and convince people that my sister was no thug. We are leaving everything in God’s hands. If she was indeed being investigated by the Hawks, why couldn’t they gather evidence, arrest her and put her on trial, convict her and then give her a deserving sentence? Why did they have to kill her?

“We know very well that we won’t get any justice, even if we do, it won’t bring back my sister,” she said.

Nonjabulo described her sister as someone who loved her job. “She started working as a police volunteer in 2008 and went to police college in 2009. She loved her job and has never complained about her salary being too little.

“She was the breadwinner for the longest time at home and took care of all of us on her salary. It was enough for us. She was angelic, even her colleagues can attest to that. She didn’t like commotion, she loved laughing and staying at home watching TV,” she said.

Mngoma will be laid to rest on Sunday.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said investigations are still proceeding and no arrests have been made yet.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  dalton police
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