File picture

Port Elizabeth - A Port Elizabeth gang member has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.

Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the Provincial Gang Investigation Unit managed to secure the life sentence for 26-year-old gang affiliate Leroy Tshakatsha of the Kakmakers gang who was sentenced in the PE High Court on Thursday. 

He was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and six years for illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. 

On 18 March 2016, Jermain Constable, 32, was standing inside the yard of a spaza shop in Bushwick Street in Ext 32 in Bethelsdorp  when he was confronted by the accused and another person. 

"The accused pulled out a firearm and repeatedly shot Constable," Naidu said. "The accused fled the scene and ran into police who were attending another crime scene not far from the shooting and who were responding to the shooting from the accused. Both men were arrested and a firearm and the deceased’s jacket was found not far from where they were arrested."

Naidu said the men appeared in court for murder but the case was withdrawn pending forensic analysis. 

"A month later, after obtaining more evidence, Tshakatsha was re-arrested and charged for murder. He remained in custody until the finalisation of the case. The accused was positively linked through touch DNA."

He was found guilty on Tuesday and according to Naidu, the life sentence is the 12th life sentence handed out to gang affiliates since October 2016.

The Cluster Commander for Mount Road Cluster, Major General Funeka Siganga welcomed the sentencing and commended the investigating officer on the excellent investigation of the case. 

"The thorough investigation of the case in collaboration with the prosecuting authority as well as evidence of witnesses not only help in the eradication of crime and criminality but also enables the SAPS to provide a safe and secure environment for the communities they serve," Siganga said.