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Families of slain Durban metro cops happy over sentences

The men who killed two Durban metro cops in 2019. Picture: Mphathi Nxumalo

The men who killed two Durban metro cops in 2019. Picture: Mphathi Nxumalo

Published Sep 21, 2023


Durban — The family of the slain Durban metro police officer said it wants more investigations to be conducted, although they were happy with the sentencing of the men who killed Sergeant Fanifani Dladla with his colleague Constable Sonto Mhlanga.

The officers were guarding the home of the ward 52 councillor in Bhambayi near Phoenix in 2019 when they were attacked and killed by Thamsanqa Mabaso, Bonginkosi Madala Msomi, Budget Gift Biyela, and Nkululeko Zulu. They were sentenced on Wednesday by the Durban High Court.

Judge Peter Olsen said there were no compelling reasons for him to be lenient on Mabaso and Zulu.

Zulu was sentenced to 13 years for robbery. Judge Olsen jailed Mabaso to 15 years for robbery, and to life imprisonment for the murders.

The funeral of Sergeant Zephania Fanifani Dladla at Hambanathi Hall in oThongathi, in 2019. PIcture: Nqobile Mbonambi African News Agency (ANA)

He said five years of the sentence imposed for robbery shall run concurrently with the 15 years of the first count of robbery. He said Mabaso was the mastermind behind all of this.

He sentenced Msomi and Biyela to 10 years imprisonment for robbery. Zulu was jailed for 15 years for robbery, life imprisonment for the murders of the officers, 10 years for attempted murder, and 15 years for possession of a semi-automatic firearm and possession of ammunition.

The judge said the sentences for the unlawful possession of a semi-automatic firearm and possession of ammunition would be taken together, adding 14 years for possession of ammunition and unlawful possession of a semi-automatic firearm shall run concurrently with the robbery sentence.

Constable Sonto Mhlongo Picture: Supplied

The family alleged that Constable Mhlanga had been promoted and that she was threatened by her colleagues, and a few days later she was killed while with Sergeant Dladla. Lucy, the wife of Dladla, described him as a good, well-mannered person, and said she was happy with the sentencing.

“Today I am happy that justice was served because these men, who some lawyers claimed were not the real perpetrators, have been sentenced.”

She said her husband had told her days prior to the incident that things were not good at work, especially for Constable Mhlanga because she had just been promoted while her other colleagues were demoted.

Sergeant Fanifani Dladla. Picture: Supplied

Sibonelo, the son of Dladla, said his father was not trained to guard people and he does not understand why he was there.

He was happy that the criminals were sentenced but feels that more investigations should take place. Purity Chili, a daughter of Dladla, said she was happy that justice was served, but it was sad that Mabaso was out on bail during this whole time while he was the mastermind of the crime.

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