Nemato policeman fears for his life and family
A NEMATO policeman fears for his life after being shot at, allegedly by a man he knows, late at night on the road to Peddie.
Sergeant Mzwanele Mafu was off-duty at the time, on November 8, and travelling with his father and son. They had turned off the R72 onto the dirt road to Peddie when Mafu saw a white Toyota Corolla approaching from behind.
“I could see he wanted to pass so I slowed down and moved to the side as the road is narrow. The Toyota’s windows were dark but as he was passing me, I saw the back window was rolled down and then I saw the man in the back seat pointing a gun at me. He fired three shots in quick succession,” Mafu said.
He showed TotT the bullet holes in his car.
“I was so shocked. I couldn’t even get my own firearm out as the seatbelt was in the way. It was in vain. I just sped up and drove on. Then the car he was in turned around and headed back down the road.”
Mafu recognised the alleged shooter as local taxi boss Siphiwo Futuse, who was arrested at his home in Nemato
Mafu recognised the alleged shooter as local taxi boss Siphiwo Futuse, who was arrested at his home in Nemato later that night and has since appeared in court in Peddie on three counts of attempted murder – as there were three occupants in Mafu’s car.
Police forensics investigators recovered three bullets – one in the seat and two between the door and the inside panelling of Mafu’s car. Police also seized Futuse’s firearm and saw there were three rounds missing from the magazine. Futuse has a firearm licence.
He appeared in court shortly after that. He was released on bail on December 19.
Mafu said he had known Futuse a long time before the incident. “His wife is a clerk at the Nemato police station.”
Asked why he thought he had been targeted by Futuse, Mafu said two weeks prior to that Futuse had been charged with another crime, but the charge was later withdrawn. “He blamed me for accusing him,” the policeman said.
“He also accused me of having an affair with his wife.”
Mafu said he was disturbed that Futuse had been released on bail
Mafu said he was disturbed that Futuse had been released on bail and has since encountered him in Nemato.
“He has driven past me in the street and looked back at me. I don’t feel safe going to work knowing he is out on the streets. He knows where I live, he knows my family. I don’t feel my family is safe.”
He said the magistrate had acknowledged in court that police are being killed every day and yet had still granted bail to Futuse.
“I want this case to be dealt with quickly by the courts. I don’t feel safe while he is out there. It’s frustrating even as a policeman I feel powerless as the wheels of justice move slowly,” Mafu said.
TotT asked provincial police spokeswoman Colonel Sibongile Soci about the incident, asking what could be done to protect Mafu and any input SAPS could make to have the case dealt with as a matter of urgency.
She referred the matter to Port Alfred cluster spokeswoman Captain Mali Govender to answer.
Govender did not refer to the case, but said the safety of SAPS members was of paramount importance.
“Since the report, the SAPS employee health and wellness practitioner had several interactions with the member,” she said.
“He has also been referred to for psychological treatment for both himself and his son. This is ongoing.”
Police spokeswoman Captain Mali Govender said SAPS management was unaware that Mafu feared for his life
She said SAPS has several internal processes in place as well as specialist human resources that are at the disposal of its employees.
“At no given stage has the management been made aware that the member feared for his life,” she said. “Internal processes, including the member being interviewed, are in the process so that arrangements can be made regarding his safety.”
Mafu was in the news last year for helping to arrest two notorious burglar brothers who had been targeting houses in Port Alfred, Seafield, Southwell and Bathurst. He was commended by Cluster Commander Brigadier Morgan Govender and Panther Farm Security owner Dudley Waters.