Jason Felix and

Mila Kakaza

TWO men have been arrested in connection with the murder of a city police officer – the second officer in the country killed in eight days.

Constable Thabo Mdzwana, 30, was gunned down early yesterday and his body was dumped in an open field just off Hlati Street in Lwandle near the Strand.

Last week, senior Joburg officer Tirhani Maswanganyi’s body was found dumped and bound outside Pretoria. No one has been arrested for his murder.

Police spokesman Andre Traut said Mdzwana was in an official vehicle. He said an investigation had led to the arrest of two men, aged 30 and 36.

“The officer was performing standby duties, but it is still unclear why he was in the area. His firearm is sought, and it is suspected that it was stolen during the incident,” Traut said.

Provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer condemned the shooting, saying it was a senseless murder.

Mdzwana was stationed at the Criminal Record Centre in Somerset West. He had served in the force for five years.

His brother Boy-Boy Mdzwana did not respond to phone calls and messages.

Close family members and friends gathered at Mdzwana’s home in Lwandle but were reluctant to talk about him.

A close family friend, Athi Yalezo, 18, said his brother Thembile helped Thabo Mdzwana become a police officer.

“I was sleeping when my aunt and brother went to the crime scene. I was told in the morning that Thabo was killed.

“He was a kind man, never fought with anyone and did not like violence. It is not possible that he could have had a disagreement. He loved his job,” Yalezo said.

He said Mdzwana lived with his partner Yandiswa Somphali and their six-year-old son and had planned to move to Nomzamo. His parents died in 2001. Messages and calls were not returned by his partner.

Residents in the area have been left shocked by the incident.

A resident, who did not want to be named, said: “I heard gunshots early in the morning. Neighbours speculated that a car was stolen, but no one was entirely sure. We eventually saw a police van and a towing vehicle on the field.”

Another resident, Phumeza Namzi, said a police tow truck took the vehicle away, but Namzi was unsure of what had happened. Last year, Lamoer said 150 police officers had been attacked while on duty Five of them had been killed.

Anyone with information can telephone the nearest police station, or Crime Stop anonymously at 086 001 0111, or SMS Crime Line anonymously at 32211.

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