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The wife and four children of slain taxi boss Bongani Mkhize, who was shot in Durban’s uMgeni Road four years ago by members of the police’s Cato Manor organised crime unit, are suing the Minister of Police for R2.4 million.
The matter on Tuesday came before the Pietermaritzburg High Court, where an order was granted that the Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions and advocate GS Maema come to court on September 23, to explain why the attorney representing the family should not be allowed to inspect the police docket relating to the killing.
Maema is part of the team that is prosecuting Mkhize’s alleged killers.
The application was brought by Mkhize’s widow, Fakazile, and her four children, Zamambo, 26, Nkosiphile, 23, Siphathelwa, 20, and Phakeme, 17, who lived at Effingham, Durban.
According to court papers, Fakazile was married to Mkhize and he supported her and the children. At the time of the shooting, in February 2009, two of the children were students and two were at school.
The papers said that Mkhize, 44, was shot by police wrongly and unlawfully. He had been a self-employed businessman and taxi owner, earning R31 000 a week.
Mkhize owned five taxis valued at R1.4 million and would have supported his wife for the remainder of her life, and the children until they were able to support themselves.
The wife claimed about R1.3m, the eldest child R104 841, the second, R219 506, the third, R331 005, and the youngest, R403 436.
Papers filed on behalf of the minister said that police had acted reasonably in the circumstances. In shooting, police did so in self- or private defence, alternatively, to identify and arrest Mkhize, alternatively, to maintain law and order.
Police were not in possession of a warrant of arrest and fired because Mkhize had pointed a firearm in their direction and fired.
The case was transferred to the Independent Complaints Directorate for investigation in May 2009. It had been previously reported that Mkhize’s death was one of several being probed by the directorate.
Police alleged that Mkhize had been linked to the murder of traditional leader Mbongeleni Zondi, 37, the head of the Zondi clan, who was killed in uMlazi in 2009.
Mkhize’s murder came three months after he made a high court application, calling for police not to kill him. He claimed that he was being sought by the Durban organised crime unit in connection with the murder of Kranskop policeman, Zethembe Chonco.
In his affidavit, Mkhize claimed that his name was on a list of suspects compiled by the police. He said many people on the list had been killed by the police “under questionable and suspicious circumstances”.
Twenty-eight policemen from the Cato Manor unit have been charged with 116 counts, including 28 murders, as well as that of Mkhize. They have been accused of operating a death squad under suspended KZN Hawks boss General Johan Booysen, who was also charged.
The next court hearing is expected to be in November.