Durban - A traffic officer died in Umhlanga Hospital on Monday after being shot while on duty in KwaMashu.

Mzwandile Dinga, 39, and a colleague, who were based at the Road Traffic Inspectorate in Umdloti, were conducting a speed timing enforcement on the M25 (Dumisani Makhaye Road) when two men emerged from nearby bushes and held them at gunpoint.

The men demanded that the officers hand over their firearms.

On Tuesday Dinga’s uncle, Siphelo Dinga, said according to the report they had received, after Dinga’s colleague gave them his firearm, he refused to hand over his weapon.

The men then shot him and ran away. Dinga was wounded in his left arm and chest.

“He (Dinga) was a respectful man who took care of his family and was the bread-winner,” he said

Before joining the RTI in 2004, Dinga had worked as an instructor at a driving school the family owned in Pietermaritzburg.

On Tuesday, The Mercury visited Dinga’s family at the Umdloti RTI staff cottage where he lived.

His mother, Eunice Gqele, wept when she spoke of her son’s death.

Police spokesman Thulani Zwane said they were investigating a case of murder and robbery.

No arrests had been made.

Acting Transport MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo said he was outraged by the shooting.

“It is painful now that our traffic officers are becoming a target. We urge communities to defend them against these criminals,” he said.

He said Dinga had been a dedicated traffic officer who had committed his life to promoting road safety.

“I would like to call on all traffic officers to honour him by ensuring that nobody escapes with a transgression on our roads,” he said.

Dhlomo urged the police to fast-track their investigations to ensure the suspects were arrested quickly.

In September last year, Thuli Nhlengethwa, 35, was killed by a driver who failed to stop when she tried to flag him down. After the motorist hit her, he continued speeding on the N2 south-bound, near Spaghetti Junction in Durban.

A 24-year-old man was arrested in the KwaLanga township in the Western Cape in October last year in connection with Nhlengethwa’s death. He faces charges of culpable homicide and reckless driving.

Dinga leaves his wife, Ningi, and four children.

The funeral is planned for this weekend in Bizana in the Eastern Cape.

The Mercury