Insure your car, home and valuables with iWYZE
A suspected police killer was shot dead at the Pietermaritzburg High Court yesterday when he tried to escape after a tussle with two officers.
He first bit a chunk out of a policeman’s neck and wrestled a gun from one of them. He then pointed the weapon at another policeman who had run to the scene when he heard the commotion. The officer shot him dead.
Sisikelo Mathebula, 31, had been brought to court with two other prisoners in the back of a police van just after 8am, police spokeswoman Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said.
He was appearing for the murder of off-duty policeman Mncedisi Nkabinde in Madadeni, Newcastle, in December 2008. He allegedly shot Nkabinde while robbing him of his car.
Judgment in the case was to have been heard yesterday.
But before he could hear his fate, Mathebula made a dash for freedom. As the policeman who had driven the van into the court precinct went to open the van to handcuff and put leg irons on the three prisoners so that they could be escorted to the court grills, Mathebula tried to escape.
Jeevan said the policeman shouted for help and two other police officers ran to his assistance.
One went to make sure the remaining prisoners did not escape, while the other tried to help his colleague wrestle Mathebula to the ground.
During the scuffle he bit the neck of one policemen. Mathebula managed to get hold of one of their guns.
Upon hearing the loud commotion, a fourth policeman raced to the area.
Mathebula stood up and pointed the gun at him, said Jeevan.
Despite a warning to put the gun down, the “suspect had his sights trained on the policeman who (then) fired two shots, fatally wounding him (the prisoner),” said Jeevan.
The incident has been reported to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
Waiting in court was the family of Mathebula’s original victim who had travelled to Pietermaritzburg for the judgment.
Bonginkosi Nkabinde, who was part of that family, said they had waited for a long time for the verdict and were disappointed that Mathebula had been killed.
Another frustrated family member could not understand why one policeman was tasked with “looking after” Mathebula when he had tried to escape several times in the past.
Acting court manager Michele Fynn said investigations would take place on whether security needed to be beefed up at the high court.
“But I don’t think that what happened was because security was lax,” said Fynn.