Durban - The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) has welcomed the life sentence given to a suspect who was responsible for the death of a police officer in November 2015.

On Monday the Mthunzini High Court convicted and sentenced Msawenkosi Ngema (29) to life imprisonment for the murder of Warrant Officer Jerico Mdletshe. Ngema was further sentenced five years for attempted murder.  

Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo, spokesperson KwaZulu-Natal, said that on 16 November 2015,  two on duty police officers from Gingindlovu Police Station responded to a complaint of suspicious motor vehicles along the R102 road near a local shopping mall.  

"Upon arrival they were shot at by unknown suspects and Warrant Officer Mdletshe died at the scene. Constable Senzo Ndwandwe sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was taken to hospital for medical attention," he said. 

The suspects fled the scene in their getaway vehicle which was later found abandoned not far from the crime scene. 

Ngema was arrested by Richards Bay Serious Organised Crime Investigation team in 2017. Mhlongo said he was successfully linked with the crime scene and denied bail until he was sentenced.

The National Head of the Hawks, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya has welcomed the sentence and has congratulated the investigating and prosecutorial teams for their achievement.  

Police Minister General Bheki Cele also welcomed the judgment.  

“Attacking and killing a police officer is a direct attack on the state and we will continue to work closely with the criminal justice system to ensure that those who attack the state are handed hefty sentences,” Cele said.

Ngema’s sentence will run concurrently.  

Daily News