Police are hunting for the robber who shot and killed a policeman in Wentworth on Monday.

Constable Njabulo Sikhakhane, 35, died after he was shot in the neck by the robbers, who were trying to make their getaway after robbing the Reebok Factory Shop in Voortrekker Road.

Police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker, said one suspect was shot dead and another arrested. Two 9mm pistols were recovered. The third suspect managed to escape.

He said the drama unfolded at about 9am when the robbers held up staff at the factory shop and robbed them of an undisclosed amount of cash and a cellphone.

At the time, two members of the Brighton Beach SAPS, including Sikhakhane, were on patrol in the area.

Naicker said the policemen were flagged down and alerted to the robbery.

“The three suspects had fled on foot and the policemen were informed that they had jumped into a minibus taxi near the Wentworth Hospital. They were given a full description of the suspects and the taxi by witnesses.”

The policeman spotted the taxi near the hospital, Naicker said. “They stopped the taxi and asked the suspects to surrender. One of the suspects opened fire and Sikhakhane was hit in the neck. The other policeman returned fire and called for back-up.”

Members of the Metro Police and Wentworth SAPS responded and arrested one suspect.

Naicker said the policeman was taken to hospital where he later died. “The seized firearms will be sent for ballistic testing to see if they had been used in other crimes. The arrested suspect will appear in the Wentworth Magistrate’s Court later this week on charges of murder and armed robbery.”

Naicker said that even though they had lost a colleague in the fight against crime, police would not be deterred from responding to criminal threats.

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, said: “The police commitment and dedication to serve and protect all the inhabitants of our country will not be deterred by ruthless criminals who kill our members in the execution of their duties. We will fight crime to the bitter end and will come out victorious against criminal elements.”

On Monday night police were working around the clock to try to apprehend the remaining suspect.