Ladysmith – Eight suspects have been taken in for questioning in connection with the death of a South African Police Service (SAPS) constable in KwaZulu-Natal while another 10 have been arrested following an attack on a police station in the Northern Cape this week, the SAPS said on Saturday.
Eight suspects were taken in for questioning after a 35-year-old SAPS constable was shot dead at Ezakheni near Ladysmith on Tuesday this week, KwaZulu-Natal SAPS spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo said in a statement.
Constable Thandekile Promise Sikhakhane was on her way to work when she gave a lift to two women from Ladysmith to Ezakheni township. She drove passed the Ezakheni police station, where she was working, to drop off the two women.
Upon dropping off the first woman, they were allegedly approached by three suspects who fired several shots, fatally wounding Sikhakhane. The suspects made off with her service pistol and she was declared dead at the scene, Mhlongo said.
On Friday, the Newcastle SAPS serious organised crime unit, working together with SAPS crime intelligence and Ladysmith SAPS crime prevention unit officers, conducted a joint operation after they had received information about unlicensed firearms in B section in Ezakheni.
“The team swooped on the suspects and upon searching, a Z88 9mm pistol belonging to the late Constable Sikhakhane was recovered. The joint team proceeded to Ladysmith where another 9mm pistol, suspected to be the murder weapon, was also recovered. [This] firearm will be sent for ballistic testing to determine if it was used in Constable Sikhakhane’s murder and any other crimes in the country. The investigation is still proceeding,” Mhlongo said.
And in the Northern Cape, SAPS officers in Roodepan in Kimberley followed up at about 4.30pm on Friday afternoon on information about a theft at Ivory Park, SAPS Northern Cape spokesperson Brigadier Mohale Ramatseba said in a separate statement.
“Two suspects were located and they attacked police. They were arrested for assault on police, resisting arrest, and possession of dangerous weapons. [Subsequently] eight people stormed the Roodepan police station, armed with knives, and demanded the release of the two suspects.
“Police managed to arrest the suspects for conspiring to assist and incite escape from lawful custody, assault on police, possession of dangerous weapons, and obstructing police in the execution of their duties,” Ramatseba said.
One officer sustained minor injuries. Six knives were confiscated from the suspects. The 10 suspects, aged between 17 and 41, were expected to appear in the Galeshewe Magistrates’ Court in Kimberley soon. The police investigation was continuing.
Northern Cape police commissioner Lt-Gen Risimati Peter Shivuri had strongly condemned the attack on police officers, Ramatseba said.
African News Agency (ANA)