Durban Metro Police officer in a critical condition following assault, suspects arrested

A MAN’S hands behind his back in handcuffs.

Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the attempted murder of a Durban Metro Police officer.

Published Mar 14, 2024


A sixty-one-year-old Durban Metro Police officer who was severely assaulted by an alleged gang boss and his bodyguards last week is fighting for his life in a hospital.

Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Simphiwe Mhlongo on Wednesday said that two suspects were in custody for the attempted murder of the officer.

Detailing the incident, Mhlongo said on Wednesday, Hawks members from the Anti-Gang Unit working together with Provincial Tracing Team, Tactical Response Team, Metro Police and private security companies arrested two suspects aged 44 and 48 for attempted murder.

He said it was alleged that on March 9, 2024 the Metro Police official was on his way home from his place of worship when a suspected notorious gang boss and his bodyguards severely assaulted him. A case of attempted murder was reported at Verulam police station.

“He was taken to hospital for medical attention and he is in a critical condition,” said Mhlongo.

Mhlongo said on Wednesday night a joint operation was conducted and the gang boss, who is the main suspect, was arrested in Verulam and charged for attempted murder.

“Members proceeded to Ballito where the second suspect (a bodyguard) was arrested. During his arrest, he was found in possession of a firearm with live rounds of ammunition,” he said, adding that the bodyguard was further charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

According to Mhlongo, the arrest of the second suspect led members of the operation to a house in KwaDukuza where five firearms believed to belong to the gang boss were recovered and a third arrest was made. The third arrest is unrelated to the assault.

“A 45-year-old suspect who was found in the house was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of firearms as well as ammunition,”he said.

The seized firearms would be sent for ballistic tests to ascertain if they were used in the commission of any crime in the country, he added.

Hawks said the arrested suspects were expected to appear in various magistrate’s courts next week.

Last November, The Mercury reported that based on crime statistics, police officers were under siege on and off duty.

In the report, policing consultant with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), David Bruce said a total of 90 police officers were killed in the first nine months of 2023 from January to September.

He said of these 63 (70%) were killed while off duty and 27 (30%) were killed on duty.

“There has been an escalation in the number of these deaths, with 66 (44 off duty, 22 on duty) occurring between April and September,” said Bruce.

Bruce said while there were undoubtedly risks to police officers in South Africa when performing their duties, for many years now SAPS data had shown that upwards of 60% of SAPS members killed in incidents of violence were killed while off duty.

“This aspect of police safety is especially pronounced in KwaZulu-Natal. However, the SAPS has never done a full investigation on why so many police are being killed while off duty,” he said.

The Mercury