Cop killer Shane Swartz was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Western Cape High Court for the murder of Warrant Officer Hilton Joseph and the attempted murder of his colleagues.
The 25-year-old was further declared unfit to possess a firearm during the proceedings on Friday.
The court heard that on September 8, 2019 Visible Policing members from the Mfuleni community service centre had responded to information about a wanted suspect in alleged double murder and carjacking cases, at the Sharp Shooters tavern in Wesbank, Mfuleni.
Joseph, 52, and Terrence Mostert, 29, searched the premises, while a third police officer remained on guard at the entrance.
Suddenly shots were fired at the officers from a suspect who was hiding in the toilets.
“Warrant Officer Joseph sustained a gunshot wound to the head (while) his colleague sustained gunshot wounds to the face and neck,” said Hawks spokesperson Zinzi Hani.
Swartz managed to get away following an exchange of gunfire with the police.
Initially three arrests were made.
One suspect could not be linked to the crime and the second suspect who appeared at Bellville Magistrate’s Court had the case against him withdrawn after he was also cleared.
“The accused (Swartz) was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, 15 years’ imprisonment each on two counts of attempted murder, and 12 years for another attempted murder.
The sentences were ordered to run concurrently,” said Hani.
Hawks provincial head Mathipa Makgato commended the investigation team and the prosecution team for their meticulous investigation which culminated in a life sentence.
SA Policing Union national spokesperson Lesiba Thobakgale said the union’s stance was clear that an attack on any law officer was an attack on the state and should be declared treason to deter criminals.
Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) Western Cape secretary Pat Raolane said in cases where there was overwhelming sufficient evidence against a person, life imprisonment must mean life in prison and not serving half of the sentence.
“Our Constitution is spot on, we all have the right to life.
“No one has the right to kill anyone, but life imprisonment in South Africa is something else. It favours criminals rather than the victims because a sentenced person at some stage will receive parole because of good behaviour or due to some Correctional Services acts. A person is released from prison for serving half of the sentence.
“One believes that once a person kills someone, they must know they will never come back to society,” said Raolane.