Ex cop gets life for ex girlfriend’s murder

Ex-cop Thandolwethu Faku sentenced to effective life imprisonment for the murder of Wendy Papu. Picture: NPA’s Eric Ntabazalila

Ex-cop Thandolwethu Faku sentenced to effective life imprisonment for the murder of Wendy Papu. Picture: NPA’s Eric Ntabazalila

Published Dec 14, 2023


Former intelligence police officer Thandolwethu Faku has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of the mother of his daughter after shooting her in the head.

The Western Cape High Court also sentenced him to six months imprisonment for an assault that occurred a year before the murder and three years imprisonment for attempting to defeat the administration of justice.

The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently and declared the former police officer unfit to possess a firearm.

According to prosecutor Kepler Uys, Faku was off-duty when he decided to visit his ex-girlfriend Wendy Papu at her home at R106 Site B, Khayelitsha in January 2018.

At the time Papu, her 8-year-old daughter from another relationship and the couple’s three-month-old daughter, were asleep.

Uys said the couple, whose relationship was characterised by abuse, got into an argument.

“The accused took out his official firearm and shot Papu in the head, in the shack, while her daughters were asleep in another room.

“He then locked the shack, leaving behind a wounded Papu and her sleeping daughters.

“She did not die immediately after being shot,” he said.

Uys said Faku got into his vehicle and drove off, leaving her to die without providing any assistance.

In attempts to cover up the murder, he abandoned his vehicle close to Strandfontein Beach near Baden Powell Drive, Mitchells Plain.

The ex-cop then went to Mfuleni Police Station and falsely reported that he had been hijacked and robbed at Papu’s house.

“In his testimony, he told the court that he went to the deceased to drop off money she had requested and was accosted by two males who robbed him of his belongings, including his phone, and wallet, and requested him to tell them where he was going.

“He testified that a gun was held to his head and he took them to the home of the deceased, where he knocked on the door. Upon him telling the deceased it was him, she opened the door.

“He was bundled into the boot of his car by one of his assailants and later heard a single gunshot, followed by footsteps and the car then driving off.

He further testified that he was later dropped in a bushy area and made his way to a lit-up area which he later discovered was Mfuleni SAPS where he reported what had happened to him.

“He was eventually taken to Khayelitsha SAPS who then took him to the crime scene,” said Uys.

Faku’s vehicle was discovered near the location he had left it but his cell phone and the firearm were never recovered.

The State had called 15 witnesses consisting of police officers, a Metro Police officer, Papu’s neighbours and her family members.

Evidence provided showed that the young mother was shot by someone inside the shack as opposed to Faku's version that she was shot by someone outside the shack.

Papu’s daughter and mother also provided evidence which showed previous cases of abuse.

Judge Constance Nziweni described Faku as an unmitigated liar who didn’t appreciate what he did to Papu’s family and her daughters who will suffer most from his actions.

Faku informed the court through his lawyer that he intends to appeal both the conviction and sentence.

Cape Times