The minister of police Bheki Cele has called on the community to rally behind the police following the shooting and killing of two police officers in the province last week.
Sgt Thabile Mapoma (43) of the Harare police station was shot and killed at his home, in Harare, on Thursday 17 September, around 06:00, while his counterpart Lt Col Charl Kinnear (52) was killed in front of his house in Bishop Lavis on Friday 18 September.
Both murders sent shock waves through the police service and the community.
On Saturday 19 September Cele visited the Mapoma family and expressed his condolences. With 19 years of experience as a police officer, Mapoma was ambushed as he parked his vehicle in his yard.
Cele said they came to see the family and seeing the young children of the deceased was a “sad situation”.
“The family have made a request and said they would love to know what has happened and by who? I hope we won’t stay too long until we find out what happened and why they did it?” Cele told the media outside the Mapoma house.
“I don’t know why police face such brutality in the Western Cape... it is an area where police are unsafe,” he said. He called on the community to rise up against the police killings. He said police are murdered for doing their job.
In an interview with City Vision, the distraught family called for those responsible for Mapoma’s death to be brought to book and face the full might of the law.
Thamela Mapoma, an aunt of the deceased, said the family was devastated by the death. “He was the only person that was working in a proper environment and we were still looking for good things from him. His untimely death has devastated us as a family. As things look we believe the suspects waited for Thabile inside the yard,” said Thamela.
Struggling to come to terms with the killing, Mapoma’s wife Cebisa Mapoma said she was still traumatised and had no words to express how she felt. “Ndonakele, kwaye andinamazwi. I received a call from my oldest child that my husband has been shot. Apparently the children all saw when their father was being shot in a hail of bullets and they closed the door as the suspects repeatedly shot him while in his car,” said Cebisa.
Provincial minister of community safety Albert Fritz condemned the shooting and killing of Mapoma.
He called on members of the community to immediately come forward with information.
“It is a tremendous loss for this province that Sgt Mapoma, who had served the police for 19 years and who was stationed at the Harare Police Station in Khayelitsha, has been killed. I wish to commend and commemorate him on his significant service to the province,” he said. “I further wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to his family on their loss. No child should have to grow up without a father.”
Harare police station spokesperson Capt Siyabulela Vukubi described Mapoma as a designated liquor officer at Harare.
“It is alleged that when he came back home from dropping his wife at a taxi rank he was attacked by unknown suspects while still sitting in his private vehicle,” he said.
The motive for the murder is unknown and no arrests have yet been made. People with information can contact Crime Stop at 08600 10111.