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Cape Town - Top-class police work across provinces led to the arrest in the Eastern Cape on Monday night of a 26-year-old man for the murder of a Kraaifontein police officer.
Constable Rozelle Witbooi, 29, was shot in the head and killed on Thursday when she and her partner responded to a report of a house-breaking and robbery on a farm outside Kraaifontein.
The news of the arrest came shortly after Western Cape police commissioner General Arno Lamoer held a press conference in Cape Town to highlight police successes, particularly against gangsters.
The good tidings about policing successes come as the force faces negative reports from the provincial commission of inquiry into the state of policing in Khayelitsha.
The arrest also comes after the High Court conviction on Monday of five men for the murder of another policewoman, Constable Xolisa Banga, 36, in Philippi East in 2012.
Although police were reluctant to provide details, it is known that a team led by a veteran Cape Town detective travelled to the Eastern Cape to apprehend a suspect, in co-operation with Eastern Cape police.
One man was arrested at the scene after Witbooi’s partner, Warrant Officer Jonathan Koopman, returned fire and wounded two men.
One man who fled was shot in the stomach.
On Monday, a man with a stomach wound who was believed to be 26 years old was arrested in the Eastern Cape town of Elliot.
In an interview on Friday, Kraaifontein station commissioner Brigadier Gerda van Niekerk described Koopman as a hero.
“He stood his ground and he returned fire despite seeing his partner fall. It was thanks to him that we arrested one person and it will be thanks to him if we get the other one,” she said at the time.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut confirmed the suspect’s arrest.
“A suspect is being held in Elliot at the moment and we will bring him back here as soon as we know he is fit to travel,” Traut said.
Although police were reluctant to provide details, it is known that a team led by a veteran Cape Town detective went to the Eastern Cape to apprehend the suspect, in co-operation with Eastern Cape police.
At a press conference on Monday morning an ebullient Lamoer was upbeat in his assessment of several high-profile successes, including the conviction and sentencing of 16 Atlantis suspects on charges relating to murder and gangs and the conviction of a Cape Flats gang high flyer, as well as the killers of Cape Flats teenager Junaid McKenzie.
The arrest of the second alleged Kraaifontein cop killer also came shortly after the conviction of five men for the killing of another policewoman, Constable Xolisa Banga, 36, in 2012.
Lamoer said the arrests, convictions and sentences followed meticulous work from detectives, uniformed police, crime intelligence personnel and other government agencies, such as the SA Revenue Service.
The integrated policing approach was run from the Western Cape’s provincial command centre, or war room, as it is commonly called.
Here, not only communications, but also planning was done on an integrated basis to allow for successful input from various sources and departments.
Lamoer said gangs had been a Cape phenomenon for as long as 200 years, but that gang violence should not be allowed to be an influence on people’s lives any longer. “There are too many firearms out there. We have to get rid of all the firearms,” he said.