Durban - A KWAZULU-Natal policewoman was found guilty on Monday of the murder of a teenager and the attempted murder of his four companions in an apparent road rage incident after her car was rear-ended.
Constable Hlengiwe Mkhize, 31, was convicted in the Pietermaritzburg High Court of the murder of 18-year-old Mlindeli Ngcobo and the attempted murder of his four passengers after a motor vehicle accident.
Mkhize pleaded not guilty, saying she had not intended to kill the teen but had fired warning shots, because she feared she was being hijacked.
On the afternoon of July 7, Mkhize had been driving to work on the Bulwer main road.
She had been driving slowly behind a truck and several other vehicles on the narrow stretch of road, which did not allow vehicles to overtake.
Mlindeli was travelling on the same road in the same direction as Mkhize.
Four friends were with him in the car.
Mlindeli had driven over a blind rise when he suddenly came upon the slow-moving convoy. He was unable to slow down in time and rear-ended Mkhize’s vehicle.
According to Sandile Madondo, one of the passengers in Mlindeli’s vehicle who testified at trial, Mlindeli and Mkhize got out of their cars and spoke for a short while, after which Mlindeli returned to the car and told them he was going to the police station to report the accident.
Madondo said Mlindeli was driving past Mkhize’s car when she drew a firearm and fired two shots in their direction. Mlindeli was hit in the back of his head, while his passengers fled the car uninjured.
Mkhize testified that Mlindeli had been arrogant and cheeky and had not co-operated with her after the collision.
She said that she had got back into her car and then heard a gunshot.
Unaware of where it had come from, she assumed that she was being hijacked and fired shots in the air.
Acting Judge thembisa Maphumulo found Mkhize’s version highly improbable, especially in the light of the testimony of witnesses.
“This was clearly a wilful and wanton disregard for the consequences of your actions,” Judge Maphumulo said, adding that it was evident that Mkhize had fired her gun recklessly and in anger.
Sentencing has been adjourned to March 1 for a probation officer’s report, and Mkhize’s bail of R1 000 was extended until then.
Mkhize, still working for the SAPS, although she had been transferred from the Wartburg area pending the finalisation of the case, declined to speak to the media.