PRETORIA – The Acting National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, Lieutenant General Bonang Mgwenya has sent her condolences to the families of three Eastern Cape police officers that were killed in separate incidents while off duty over the past two weeks.

On 14 October 2019, the body of Captain Mzikayise Kelemane aged 47, was found by a community member in the fields near Addo Road in Port Elizabeth. The Captain was found in his bakkie with a bullet wound to his head. He was attached to Crime Intelligence in Port Elizabeth. His wife had reported him missing at the police station the day before his body was discovered. A case of murder has been registered and it is being investigated by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation to determine the circumstances that led to the Captain’s death and to trace the perpetrators. The Captain had served in the police for 19 years before he met his untimely death.

In a separate incident which took place on 12 of October 2019, Constable Thobani Sitolo aged 34, who had been attached to Mthatha Public Order Police, was shot and killed by unknown assailants who were trying to steal a vehicle belonging to the member’s friend. The Constable and his friend caught the suspects red handed at Lewies Road in Mthatha and without a word, the suspects fired at both of them. The constable who had been in the Service for 11 years, succumbed to his injuries while his friend was taken to hospital for medical assistance. The police are investigating a case of murder and attempted murder.

Another tragic incident occurred on 01 October 2019, when Sergeant Pathiswa Mhlola had just left her workplace, Libode Police Station near Mthatha. She was driving home together with a family member, when her vehicle was blocked by a bakkie and the occupants started shooting at her vehicle. The member was shot several times on her upper body. She was rushed to hospital for medical attention and on 14 October 2019, she succumbed to her injuries. The family member escaped the attack unscathed. The police are investigating a case of murder and attempted murder.

The Acting National Commissioner has sent her condolences to the families of the deceased members. I am saddened by the attacks on our police officers either on or off duty that continue unabated. The safety of our members is a priority therefore the Management of the SAPS is ensuring that there is full implementation of our police safety strategy to reduce these killings. We are continuing to call on our communities to work together with the police in order to rid our country of people who have no regard for human life, said Lt Gen Mgwenya who went on to instruct the province to afford the families of the deceased members the necessary support during their time of bereavement and beyond. “An attack on the police is an attack on the State, we must turn the tide against crime,” concluded Lt Gen Mgwenya.

Anyone with information that can lead to the arrest of the perpetrators is requested to contact the SAPS Crime Stop number 08600 10111, all information received will be treated with confidentiality.

Source: South African Police Service