The fiancé of Pietermaritzburg police officer, Constable Jeandre Andries Jacobus Venter (30), who was gunned down in Msinga during a police operation, has described her partner as a ‘selfless and loving’ man.
He died in a hail of bullets police sources said.
Barbara Datel, Venter’s fiancé of seven years, told The Witness that she had not been told the full details about her partner’s death, and had to read about it in the media on Friday morning.
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KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson, Brigadier Jay Naicker, said Constable Venter, stationed at the Alexandra Road Vehicle Crime Investigation Unit, was at Msinga around 8.30 pm with his colleague to arrest two people who were wanted for the theft of a motor vehicle that was stolen in Willowfontein last month.
“They proceeded to Mbabane Road in Msinga where they arrested a 25-year-old suspect.
“They continued to another homestead to arrest the second suspect. Constable Venter remained in the vehicle with the arrested suspect.
“The other police officer proceeded to the second identified house and whilst he was few meters away, he heard gunshots being fired. The police officer returned to the vehicle and discovered that Constable Venter and the suspect had sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the head and body.”
“They were declared dead at the scene. Charges of murder were opened at Msinga SAPS and the Hawks have taken over the investigation,” said Brigadier Naicker.
Datel described her fiancé, and the father of their four-year-old son, as a “good-hearted, loving and caring person”, who always went out of his way to help everyone even at his worst.
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Speaking through her tears, the distraught Datel told Weekend Witness that she last saw Venter at around 3.30 pm on Thursday afternoon, just before he left for the police operation in Msinga.
Datel said Venter didn’t usually go out to operations and that his normal shift was Mondays to Fridays during the day.
“In those rare occasions where he did go out for operations, it was always during the day and they’d always go with a big team of other police officers,” she said.
Datel, who’s originally from Cape Town and her fiancé from Bloemfontein, said Venter’s mother had also not taken the news well.
Venter joined the SAPS about six years ago, following in the footsteps of his late father, Lieutenant Colonel Jan Gerhard Venter, who was a commander at the 10111 police call centre in Pietermaritzburg. He died of a heart attack last year whilst already in retirement.
The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula has condemned the incident.
“It is saddening to learn of a police officer being killed at the hands of the criminals. We will not rest until we arrest all those involved, and we have mobilised all our available resources to track the suspects involved. I would like to send my condolences to the family of our fallen hero,” he said.
Sources told The Witness that someone was being questioned in relation to Venter’s murder, but Brigadier Naicker said on Friday afternoon he could not confirm any arrests at this stage.
The police are appealing to anyone with information that can lead to the arrest of the suspects to contact Crime Stop number 08600 10111 or to report information anonymously on the MySAPSApp.