Sgt. Patrick Mthobeni was shot dead in Piet Retief in Mpumalanga on Saturday when a group of community members wanted to exercise their own property rights.
COL. Police spokeswoman Brenda Muridili said police officers were called to a scene where two men were assaulted by the community. They accused the two men of robberies in and around the taxi rank.
“While the officers wanted to calm the mood, a shot went off and Mthobeni was hit. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, ”Muridili explained. “When the crowd adjourned, one of the suspects was found dead on the ground. The second suspect was taken to a hospital where he also died of his wounds. “
In a separate incident, Const. Nkosingiphile Ninela, who was responding to the incident with Mthobeni, arrived at his home after work where he and a family member started fighting. “The family member allegedly used Ninela’s service pistol and shot him in the back several times. He is currently in a critical condition in hospital. The relative was arrested on a charge of attempted murder. “
Lieutenant General. Acting National Police Commissioner Bonang Mgwenya condemned the property right. “Housing rights amount to undermining the authority of the state. The police have a mandate from the Constitution to uphold the law. The members of the community responsible for the deaths of police officers and two more people will be located and arrested. “
Mgwenya expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased police officer and wishes the injured police officer a speedy recovery.