Cop dies after being punched

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IOL  oct 29  crime tape .

Johannesburg - A Metro police officer who went out to enforce by-laws in Ekurhuleni on a Sunday ended up dead. And, as a result, a man who tried to stop the police impounding his caravan is facing a murder charge.

On Sunday morning, metro officers on patrol in Ekurhuleni spotted an illegal pavement shop operation. The shop was set up in a caravan, and the men working in it called the owner after being confronted by the metro cops.

The officers wanted to shut down the little shop, which was selling food.

The angry owner arrived and tried to stop the police from towing away the caravan in Daveyton.

He allegedly confronted them after they started to move his caravan on the grounds that it was illegally set up on the pavement, in contravention of Ekurhuleni’s by-laws.

In a clash with the police, the caravan owner threw a punch which hit a metro police officer on the jaw. The officer fell backwards and hit his head hard on the ground. A while later, he was declared dead where he lay.

The businessman has been charged with murder.

The incident happened at the entry point to Daveyton where, about three weeks ago, policemen allegedly handcuffed taxi driver Mido Macia to a police bakkie over a parking offence and dragged him down the street. Macia was later found dead in police cells. The incident made world headlines.

On Sunday, bystanders watched as a different picture emerged in Daveyton. This time it was a policeman who was the victim.

Ekurhuleni metro police spokesman Superintendent Vusi Mabanga said a court order had been obtained to demolish a number of illegal structures set up by pavement traders in Daveyton a while ago. He said that after the demolitions, one of the business owners went back to the same site and operated from a caravan.

“He was given notice to remove the caravan on March 13, and when he failed to do so, the law-enforcement unit came in at about 10.30am to tow away the caravan. While they (metro cops) were still busy, the owner arrived in a blue Golf V and blocked the way for the tow truck,” Mabanga said.

“Officers informed him that he was interfering with their duties and that he could be arrested if he continued. He didn’t stop, and during the arrest, the suspect hit the deceased…” he said.

“He was unconscious and declared dead by paramedics after efforts to resuscitate him failed.”

The other officers overpowered the caravan owner and arrested him.

Police spokeswoman Tryna Maritz said the suspect, who is in his early thirties, was charged with murder and was expected to appear in court soon.

Meanwhile, another wrongful parking incident left a police constable and a taxi driver with stabbing and gunshot wounds respectively in Klerksdorp, North West.

Klerksdorp police said a 38-year-old police officer had to run for his life as a knife-wielding man attacked him on Saturday morning.

“The taxi driver had parked his vehicle in the middle of the road in the morning peak-hour traffic and wouldn’t remove it when asked by an officer.

“He jumped out of the vehicle with a knife when an officer approached the vehicle, and the officer had to run away from him,” said North West police spokesman Brigadier Thulani Ngubane.

“He was stabbed three times in the back while running. He first fired warning shots, and when the man came after him, with little option left, he shot him in the chest. They are both in critical condition in hospital, and cases of attempted murder were opened against each of them.”

About a week after Macia’s tragic death, a 37-year-old Mahikeng man, Morgan Motlhala, was allegedly grabbed by his collar and dragged alongside a moving police car by a 39-year-old sergeant.

North West premier Thandi Modise warned that those who “choose to… attack police officers thinking that their actions will be justifiable in the light of the criticism of police brutality should not expect sympathy from the public”.

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