Cape Town -
The families of the three policemen shot and killed on Monday are struggling to come to terms with the deaths of their loved ones.
Sergeant Sibongile Ngcawuzele, 37, and Constable Monwabisi Khaka, 33, were gunned down in cold blood by unidentified men as they sat in their vehicle in Nyanga.
They had kept watch on a stolen vehicle.
Their attackers allegedly drove away in the vehicle. Off-duty policeman Sergeant Theophilus Mlindwa, 41, was killed in a suspected robbery in Mfuleni hours earlier.
Police spokesman Tembinkosi Kinana said Mlindwa, originally from the Eastern Cape, worked as a crime prevention officer at the Gugulethu Police Station. He lived in Gugulethu with his younger brother Lungile Nxumlo. He was the eldest of three siblings.
His youngest brother Thandikhaya Matebese said when he arrived at work on Tuesday morning, he broke down as his colleagues spoke about the murders.
“They did not know it was my brother. As I tried to tell them, I just broke down. It then hit home that he was dead.”
Matebese was sent home early by his employer.
“My brother was a good man. Very hard working and dedicated. He is going to be missed,” he said.
On Tuesday, Matebese and Nxumlo were informing relatives in the Eastern Cape
But they said it was difficult as Mlindwa had most of the numbers stored on his cellphone and it had been taken after he was killed.
Ngcawuzele had been a policeman since 2012 and lived alone in Ilitha Park in Khayelitsha. Renting a room in a granny flat behind Ngcawuzele’s house was Malinge Nohesi, who said he moved in two weeks ago.
Although he did not know Ngcawuzele well, Nohesi described him as “a nice guy” and very friendly and inviting.
Khaka’s immediate family declined to speak to the media on Tuesday. He lived with his wife and their children in Nyanga. His niece, who did not want to be named, said the family was distraught.
Kinana said the stolen silver-grey Isuzu had since been found abandoned in Lower Crossroads, not far from where Ngcawuzele and Khaka were murdered.
“We are still following up leads,” he said and added police worked around the clock to find the killers.
Kinana said a memorial service for the three policemen was being planned.
The portfolio committee on police condemned the killings.
Committee chairman Francois Beukman said the killings had “no place in society”.
“It is incomprehensible that our police officers should be put in a position of fearing for their lives instead of protecting and serving our communities.
“I call upon all the people of Nyanga, where the two on-duty officers were murdered, and those of Mfuleni, where the off-duty cop was killed, to work with the police. The community must also report other crimes taking place in their areas.”
Deputy mayor Ian Neilson said: “We will do everything possible to assist the police during this trying time and would like to offer our condolences to the families of the slain officers as well as their colleagues.”
He appealed to the public to come forward if they had information that could help police
in finding the killers. Anyone with information can call Crime Stop at 08600 10111 or SMS Crime Line at 32211.