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Nine police killers were sentenced to life imprisonment while two others were handed lengthy sentences in the first half of 2019, the SA Police Service said on Monday.

Police spokeswoman Brenda Muridili said the officers were killed between 2012 and 2017.

Muridili said early this month six accused were convicted of killing Eastern Cape warrant officer Mawethu Siganga and an innocent motorist in 2012.

Welcome Mfiki, Nhlanhla Mvoko, Zwelithini Gibeni, Sinethemba Dangazele, Sonwabile Makhonco and Menzi Zekani, aged between 22 and 30, killed Siganga when he and fellow officers responded to reports of an armed robbery in progress at Mnyameni, Ngqeleni near Mthatha on July 4, 2012. 

"The police managed to retaliate and one of the suspects was also fatally shot during the crossfire and the other suspect was injured.

"The accused went on to rob the police of their rifle and tried to hijack a woman who was driving by, upon resistance the accused shot and killed the woman before fleeing the scene." 

"Backup from the Ngqeleni Police Station searched and combed the area surrounding the crime scene and immediately arrested Welcome Mfiki. During the arrest the police recovered the robbed service pistol and unlicensed 38 revolver with ammunition. The injured accused was taken to hospital under police guard and the two were charged with murder and attempted murder, "said Muridili. 

The State successfully opposed bail and the six were charged with murder, racketeering and various other violent crimes, including aggravated robbery and escaping from lawful custody.

The six killers were sentenced to life imprisonment each by the Mthatha High Court. They were sentenced to 15 years each for the remaining 37 counts, culminating in a combined 555 years imprisonment. The sentences would not run concurrently.

Two killers of off-duty Eastern Cape warrant officer Z Nyakaza, who was killed in October 2017, were also sentenced. One was handed a life sentence while the other killer was handed a 20 year sentence. 

The men involved in the killing of KwaZulu-Natal warrant officer TN Mkhize in 2017 were both handed life sentences.  

Sergeant KG Lefosa was killed in Bloemspruit, Free State on 23 April 2017 while off duty. He was stabbed to death by unknown assailants. One of his killer was sentenced to 12 years behind bars. 

National police commissioner Khehla Sitole welcomed the sentences.

"I will always call upon our citizens to work together with the police to root out police killers from our communities. No murder of any law abiding citizens is justifiable and the killing of those mandated by the Constitution of the Republic to ensure safety and security, equates to an attack on the State. We welcome any form of admonishment that will serve as a deterrent for those that have ill intentions of killing police officers," said Sitole.

African News Agency (ANA)