THE brutal, vicious, cold-blooded murder of 76-year-old Greytonian, Joe Fabian as his wife Cathy fell on her knees to pray, has sent shock waves of horror throughout the province.
On Saturday 19 December, in the afternoon, the Fabians were in their cottage on the farm Purbrook on the outskirts of Greytown. Joe was watching television in the lounge and Cathy was at her sewing machine in her room when three men, one armed, burst into the house.
One of the robbers, who was armed, shot Joe at point blank range in the forehead killing him instantly as he sat in his chair. On hearing the gunshot Cathy went into the lounge and was told by the thugs that if she did not give them the safe and firearms within five seconds they would shoot her.
As the armed man began counting Cathy fell to her knees and prayed aloud for them not to shoot her. The gang took a computer screen and walked away into a nearby plantation leaving Cathy distraught and traumatised.
A well attended memorial service was held for Joe last Thursday - Cathy is with her family in Durban.
The alleged killer, a notorious 21-year-old wanted criminal, known as “The Mamba “ was shot dead in a fiery gunbattle by members of the Serious and Violent Crime team and the Combined Action Team (CAT) on Monday 4 January.
Siyabonga Ndlovu had been hunted for over two months for alleged links to 12 murders including a Rietvlei SAPS member in November and Joe Fabian, attempted murder and hijacking. Acting on a tip-off that “the mamba” and two others were in a stolen vehicle in the vicinity of Ahrens, the police set an ambush, but were seen and the three jumped out the vehicle and ran into the bushes.
An intensive search by police and police dogs took place - a Z88 .9mm pistol was recovered in the bushes.
The following day, on Monday afternoon, the police returned to Greytown where they found the three getting into a Nissan bakkie. A high-speed chase ensued during which the gang shot at the police vehicles while the police returned fire trying to plug the fleeing vehicle’s tyres. About 100 metres from the Dundee turn-offm on the Kranskop road, the bakkie came to a halt and a fierce battle continued as the police and their dogs chased the gangsters through the bushes.
“The mamba” died from a number of gunshot wounds – his one accomplice also had numerous gunshot wounds and was rushed to hospital in a critical condition. The third man fled.
In yet another police success, the Pietermaritzburg CAT team, just before Christmas, arrested a seven-man gang said to be responsible for a series of house robberies, murder and acting as “hitmen” with unlicensed firearms.
Police said the gang had committed these crimes in and around New Hanover. The arrest of the gang came about as a result of investigative work by New Hanover SAPS, who were backed by the CAT team in the arrests.
The gang members were arrested during a six-hour hunt through dense bush in the Mpolweni area. A 9mm pistol was recovered.
Greytown Police Station Commander, Major Mchunu told the Greytown Gazette that the festive season had been comparatively crime-free.
He attributed this to the increased visibility of the police in and around the town. He said that even office staff had been used in a crime preventative exercise in the town and as a result of this increased level of manpower there had been no major incidents after the murder of Joe and the subsequent shoot-out with his killer.