A KwaZulu-Natal police officer who headed up the crime prevention unit at KwaNdengezi SAPS, west of Durban, was gunned down in a hail of bullets on Monday morning.
Capt Thulani Molefe, 59, was shot and killed while on his way to work at about 7am.
Two independent sources confirmed that Molefe had approached a stop street in his private vehicle, a white Renault, when gunmen wielding high-calibre weapons approached from the rear, spraying his vehicle with rifle rounds.
It is understood the officer died at the scene.
Hawks provincial spokesperson Simphiwe Mhlongo confirmed the incident.
“I can confirm that a police officer from KwaNdengezi SAPS was shot and killed this morning. Our members attended the crime scene and are investigating,” he said.
Molefe’s death comes almost three months after a massacre in which nine people were killed execution-style in two separate incidents in the area.
On September 26, the bodies of four victims, aged between 17 and 24, were found near the Olwambeni Primary School sports grounds in KwaNdengezi.
The police said initial investigations suggested that the victims had been suspected stock thieves and were all shot “execution-style” in the upper body.
That evening, six people were forced out of a vehicle and made to lie face down on the ground before being shot – one woman survived the incident.
Police minister Bheki Cele visited the area two days later to engage with the families of the deceased. He said the murders in the second incident were “unusual and bizarre”.
Sunday Times Daily identified the victims as Wanda Ncgobo, 32, Nkhanyiso Mthembu, 39, Xolisi Phungula, 22, Nomfundo Mkhonza, 34, Lwa Zamisa, 32, and Jabulisile Shabalala, 39.
Mkhonza was at the time reported to be the only survivor, who had been fighting for her life with a bullet lodged in her brain.
Provincial education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi confirmed that both Mkhonza and Shabalala were primary school teachers employed by the department of education within the Pinetown district.
On October 2 the police arrested three men in connection with the first incident.
by Orrin Singh