Manhunt launched for Tembisa cop killer

National Police Commissioner, General Fannie Masemola, has directed the mobilisation of maximum resources after three police officers were shot and disarmed of their service pistols during an armed robbery at a filling station in Tembisa, Gauteng, on Thursday morning.

South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Athlenda Mathe said according to reports from the scene, a group of armed suspects entered a filling station on Andrew Mapheto Drive and robbed the convenience store of an undisclosed amount of money and cigarettes.

“As the group was about to leave, they noticed a group of police officers entering the filling station. They immediately opened fire on three members attached to the Tembisa South Police Station and a security guard,” she said.

The police officers and security guard sustained multiple gunshot wounds and were also disarmed of their service pistols. All three members and the security guard were taken to hospital for treatment where one of the members died.

She said: “A manhunt is underway for the group of at least 15 suspects who fled the scene in a Toyota Quantum and Toyota Corolla Prestige. Anyone who knows or may have seen what transpired is urged to contact the Crime Stop Hotline number on 0860010111. Callers are reminded that they may remain anonymous.”

Meanwhile, SAPS management has expressed sadness and dismay at the passing of three members in a fatal motor vehicle accident in Vereeniging on Wednesday morning. Mathe said at the time of the accident, the three officers from the Vereeniging Police Station were conducting crime prevention patrols when a truck allegedly failed to stop at a four way crossing.

“The truck drove into the SAPS vehicle and dragged the said vehicle for at least 500 metres until it came to a standstill. The three SAPS members were certified dead at the scene,” she said.

The three have been identified as Captain Shashape Theletsane (58), with 34 years of service, Warrant Officer Aaron Mfazwe (54), with 26 years of service, and Constable Timothy Mbele (45) who had been serving as a permanent employee for the past eight years. Prior to this, Mbele had served as a police reservist for nine years.

“The driver of the truck has since been arrested. A case of culpable homicide and reckless and negligent driving is being investigated. The death and attack of these members takes place a few days after the annual SAPS Commemoration Day. In the 2021/2022 financial year, 33 members lost their lives in the line of duty,” said Mathe.

Commissioner Masemola has sent condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the four officers and wished the two members a speedy recovery.

“We are not going to allow criminals to run amok and do as they wish, we are coming for each one of them. We are closing the net on each person in this country who is found to be on the wrong side of the law,” said Masemola.

Source: South African Government News Agency