Hours after a suspected cop killer allegedly gunned down a police sergeant in Lebowakgomo in Limpopo, the assailant, who resides in Centurion, was arrested in Joburg, according to the Hawks.
Speaking to the Pretoria News yesterday, Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Matimba Maluleke said the suspect, 33, allegedly gunned down an off-duty police officer in the early hours of Saturday.
“In the early hours of July 15, an off-duty police official stationed at SAPS-Burgersfort, was gunned down in Lebowakgomo by assailants driving in a Bronze Volkswagen Golf 7 GTI.”
After Hawks boss Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya activated a 72-hour-plan to hunt down the suspects, a multi-disciplinary team comprising a tracking team, the SAPS crime intelligence crime intelligence and the Gauteng highway patrol, among others, was set up.
“After conducting a thorough investigation, the team was led to Braamfontein in Joburg on the very same day.
“The suspected vehicle with three occupants was spotted driving in the area and it was followed and tactically cornered.”
Maluleke said the driver of the vehicle was arrested after being suspected to be the one who pulled the trigger killing the officer.
“Further investigations led the team to his residential address at Rooihuiskraal in Centurion (Pretoria). Upon searching the house, the team found a firearm suspected to have been used in murdering the officer and it was seized. The team also seized a vehicle (GTI Golf 7), a large amount of money and a cellphone.”
The suspect will appear in the Lebowakgomo Magistrate’s Court soon to face murder, possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition and other possible charges.
Lebeya commended the reaction of the team.
“There was a 72-hour operational plan in place, but the case was cracked within eight hours.”
Police killings have been rife across the country in recent months.
In May, Sergeant Lwando Lawrence Bunga, Sergeant Mario Nel and Constable Lefaka were killed while performing their duties in their respective districts in Nelson Mandela Metro and Buffalo City Metro in the Eastern Cape and Atteridgeville.
Two other officers were killed in Roodepoort during the same week.
Last week an off-duty police officer was allegedly killed by a gang of people after he allegedly shot a patron at a tavern in the Eastern Cape.
Last month the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) said it was concerned with the increasing number of police killings. The union said 13 officers had been killed since the beginning of the year while scores of others suffered career-threatening injuries or were left disabled.
The union added that most officers were targeted while off-duty.
The organisation added there was an urgent need to examine the reasons why these attacks were continuing at (such) high levels.