DURBAN - A suspect in the murder of Sergeant Thamsanqa Mbedu, 47, was remanded in police custody after appearing before the Empangeni Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Maqhinga Dube, 28, is accused of being one of the suspects who shot Mbedu 27 times on March 6, 2021.
Hawks spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo said Dube will appear in court again on April 22 for a formal bail application.
Mhlongo said Dube was arrested on Saturday by Hawks officers from Richards Bay Serious Organised Crime Investigation and officers from Esikhaleni Visible Policing.
Mbedu, who was attached to the Empangeni Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit, was driving along the road in the Iniwe area. It is alleged that he had an argument with the suspects, who had blocked the road near a tavern. Mbedu allegedly switched on the blue light and the suspects fired shots that fatally wounded him.
“A case of murder was reported at Empangeni police station and the case docket was allocated to the Hawks members for intensive investigation. During the investigation, information was received about a suspect and a warrant of arrest was obtained. The suspect was on the run since the date of the incident until he was successfully apprehended by Esikhaleni Visible Policing on Saturday,” Mhlongo said.
A month after Mbedu’s murder, Hawks officers from the Richards Bay Serious Organised Crime Investigation Unit had appealed to the public to assist them in locating Dube, who was allegedly involved in the murder.
At the time of his death, said police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili, Mbedu was in an unmarked state vehicle, a white Toyota Hilux double cab, and was alone. He was accosted by an unknown person who came from behind the police van and then fatally shot Mbedu after an altercation. Mbedu died at the scene.
At the time it was also reported that Mbedu’s firearm was not found at the scene.
At least seven on- and off-duty police officers were killed in KwaZulu-Natal between February 7 and March 11. Many were killed in an ambush, while others were killed execution-style or in a hit.