Metro police officers and officials packed the Durban City Hall on Thursday to bid farewell to four of their colleagues, who died on Saturday.

Senzwesihle Gcwabaza, Phumlani Busani, Samkelo Mthethwa and Monde Jikazi were killed when the taxi they had hired to travel to a wedding in the Eastern Cape crashed.

The accident happened about 12km outside Kokstad.

The constables, along with six other metro police officers, were attending the wedding of a colleague, Nondumiso Kati.

Despite the solemnity of the occasion, officers were in jubilant spirits, singing upbeat hymns and struggle songs.

Head of Metro police Steve Middleton said: “It’s tragic and we would like to extend our deepest condolences. To the families, we say: stand firm and we are with you and will always be there for you.”

City manager Sibusiso Sithole said news of the deaths had come as a shock.

“We are broken, as they meant a lot to us… but we must be united and be better committed to the community,” he said.

Constable Phumlani Majola, who spoke on behalf of the dead men’s colleagues, said the deceased had been almost like brothers to him.

“It was wonderful spending time with them. It pains me that we had to part like this, as they were people you could rely on,” Majola said.

Busani’s grandfather, Nkosenye Busani, said they were hit hard by his death, and that they had depended on him financially.

“We are in disbelief. He was a well-behaved boy who loved us (his grandparents), and we loved him too. He had just bought himself a car and a house, and a week earlier had invited us to see the house,” Busani said.

The four constables are expected to be buried on Saturday in Durban. - Daily News