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Durban - The head of the Nkandla police station has spoken of his grief at the death of his son, a student constable who was gunned down, allegedly by a colleague.
Student Constable Thobani Xulu, 26, of Nkandla, and Constable Sibusiso Mthethwa, 31, of Ngwelezane in Empangeni, were killed on Saturday.
According to a police source, the suspect, a KwaDukuza policeman, had been sitting in a police vehicle behind the two and shot them in the back of the head.
A fourth policeman had been asleep at the time and when he woke up he was allegedly told by the suspect that the attackers had emerged from the surrounding bushes.
Lieutenant Colonel Bongani Xulu said he had feared the worst when he received a call at 4am saying his son Thobani had been injured on duty.
“I could relate very well to the meaning. I have been in the game for a long time I understood he had been killed,” he told the Daily News on Wednesday.
“I expected him to have been killed by criminals as is often the case in policing…”
Xulu said that when he arrived at the scene at about 7am, forensic investigators were collecting evidence.
“I just stood there and watched. I came there as a parent. But when I asked onlookers what had happened, I only received a feeble description of what had happened,” he said.
“As an experienced policeman I could tell this was nonsense. But I could not allow myself to be taken over by emotion; I had to let them do their job.”
Xulu said he was happy with the Hawks’ swift action in arresting the suspect.
“I am shocked that a person supposed to give protection to his colleagues has (allegedly) taken away their lives,” he said. “My blood boils when I think about it. I know the suspect well; I have worked with him at Stanger before I became a station commander at Nkandla.”
Xulu said his son had been passionate about his work. He had last spoken to him on Friday, a day before he was killed.
“He sounded happy and he had told me he was coming home the following day.”
He said Thobani, a father of three children - the youngest is 5 months old - had paid lobolo and had been preparing to get married after completing his studies.
He was to have left to complete his policing studies in Cape Town this Saturday. Instead, the devastated family would now be gathering on that day for his funeral.
Police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker said the 53-year-old suspect in the murders would appear in court on Thursday.
The policeman had been scheduled to make his first appearance in the KwaDukuza Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, but he did not.
The Hawks arrested the policeman on Monday after they were able to piece together what had allegedly transpired from the evidence at the scene.
Before that it was believed that the four policemen were attacked by gunmen after they had stopped at the side of the road.