A detective police constable, aged 32, was remanded in custody when he appeared before the Carolina Magistrate’s Court charged for killing his spouse and her mother in cold blood.
Sibusiso Mxolisi Hlophe allegedly also shot and injured his spouse’s stepfather after the family members arrived at a spot where they had claimed to have a car breakdown and called for help.
“The accused, Sibusiso Mxolisi Hlophe, appeared at the Carolina Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, January 16, 2024 and the case was postponed to Wednesday. The suspect is expected to make an application for bail and for legal representation. Meanwhile, the suspect remained in custody,” said Mpumalanga provincial police spokesperson, Colonel Donald Mdhluli.
“This horrific and shocking incident, which was strongly condemned by the provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela occurred at Carolina on Sunday, at around 3.15am.”
According to the police report, on that day, the dramatic events began when the police officer called to tell the mother of his children that he had experienced a vehicle breakdown and requested that she come and assist in towing his vehicle.
"Thereafter, it is said that his partner, together with her mother and stepfather, as well as her three children, went out in her Volkswagen Polo to help, unknowingly that a tragedy was looming for them,” said Mdhluli.
“Upon arrival, it is further reported that the suspect allegedly opened fire, then fatally shot his partner and her mother, as well as injured her stepfather, who sustained a gunshot wound, but survived.”
After the shooting, police said the detective jumped into his partner's vehicle, then fled the scene with the three minor children who were in the car, leaving his victims bleeding profusely.
Police were alerted about the incident.
“Meanwhile, the suspect is said to have reportedly lost control of the vehicle as he was fleeing, and it capsized. He was then trapped inside the car with the children, and police were notified,” said Mdhluli.
“Upon arrival at the accident scene, the astute members arrested the suspect, while paramedics attended to the children and took one of them to hospital for treatment of minor injuries. A firearm is said to have also been confiscated during the arrest.”
At this stage it has not been established if the firearm used to shoot the three people was an official SAPS firearm.
“That will form part of the investigation, which is still ongoing,” said Mdluli.
“Sadly, the children's mother as well as their grandmother were unfortunately certified dead at the scene, while their grandfather was admitted in hospital for medical treatment.”
Police said the watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), will also conduct its own investigation into the “dreadful” incident.
Meanwhile, commissioner Manamela has expressed “disappointment” over the tragic incident associated with domestic violence.
“It is indeed unfortunate that one of our own members that should be protective, is alleged to have wiped out members of a family, which leaves behind children in a very traumatic situation,” said Manamela.
“We really urge members to seek professional help whenever they experience difficulties in their families or relationships rather than resorting to acts of violence.
“There are various interventions set aside for the members within the service to curb such incidents; one of such is Employee Health and Wellness (EHW), which members can easily access,” she appealed.
Last year, IOL reported that a 37-year-old police constable, attached to Masoyi police station in Mpumalanga, was arrested after he allegedly gunned down his wife, her sister and her brother.
At the time, acting Ipid national spokesperson Robbie Raburabu said the police officer allegedly used his service pistol to slaughter the siblings during a meeting to resolve issues between him and his wife.
“The family was meeting following a dispute between the suspect constable and his wife. When things did not go the suspect’s way, he decided to go fetch his service pistol and fatally shot the three family members, including his wife.
Ipid investigators were summoned to the crime scene at Kamajika Trust near Sabie Sands.