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Pretoria - The taxi driver who shot dead a Gauteng traffic officer and wounded two of his colleagues, using his licensed firearm, in April last year has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Judge Mandla Mbongwe sentenced Bongomusa Sibiya to 18 years for the murder of Ravellino Solomons.
He also handed down a seven-year jail sentence on two counts of attempted murder for his wounding of Lwazi Caron Zondo and Patrick Nkgomotsang Kabe.
On the fateful day, Sibiya had been stopped by Solomons, who confiscated his licence after declaring his vehicle unroadworthy.
Sibiya left the scene and later waylaid Solomons and his colleagues, who were on patrol, at the intersection of Bruce Street and Empire Road, just metres from the Hillbrow police station.
He pumped four or five bullets into Solomons and shot Zondo and Kabe. Sibiya fled and was arrested soon after in a nearby flat.
During the trial, Sibiya said Solomons had taken R650 from his car, handcuffed him, spat in his face, and thrown him in the police van.
The other officers had done nothing to stop Solomons, he said.
When he approached the two officers to ask them about the money, they said they “saw nothing”, he testified.
There was a mix-up of venues as Judge Mbongwe had said sentence would be handed down in the South Gauteng High Court.
Sibiya’s family assembled there, only to be told the taxi driver was to be sentenced in the Palm Ridge High Court.
Sibiya is one of many taxi drivers to have received heavy sentences for violent crimes.
In December, taxi driver Booi Makhubela and his son Rodgers were sentenced to 26 life terms for 26 rapes committed between March 2008 and June 2009.
In June, Vuledzani Ramulifho was convicted of robbery, assault, and raping 14 women last year.
He was sentenced to 105 years in prison.
Multiple robber and rapist and former metered taxi driver Shepherd Moyo was reduced to tears in May when he was sentenced to three life sentences without parole and an additional 165 years in prison.
Gauteng Traffic Police spokeswoman, Busaphi Nxumalo said her department was happy with Sibiya’s sentence, even if it was not the heaviest.
“A lot of our officers are dying while executing their duties,” said Nxumalo.
“This will warn would-be killers that if you kill an officer you will go to jail for a very long time.”