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Compiled by Nicholas Zaal

Digital Journalist

Cop convicted of murder after it’s revealed he lied about victims carrying guns

The officer claimed two men pointed guns at him before he shot them. But, ballistic experts refuted his story.

The Protea Magistrate’s Court has found a police officer guilty of murder and defeating the ends of justice after he shot two men, killing one and injuring the other.

Sentencing was carried out on Thursday, and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) welcomed the six years imprisonment and another year for defeating the ends of justice, handed down on Warrant Officer Mzwakhe Mabizela.

ALSO READ: Crime stats: Guns murder weapon of choice

Ipid spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said the murder occurred in Soweto and dates back to 3 October 2015.

“Mabizela was driving along Masopha Street when he apparently saw two men carrying firearms and coming towards his direction,” Shuping said.

ALSO READ: Crime stats: 6,911 people survived murder attempts between July and September

“They allegedly ordered him to stop, pointing him with firearms. The two men then started shooting at him, and he returned fire fatally wounding one and injuring the other.

“During investigations, it was revealed that no firearm was recovered from the deceased and his friend. Ballistic experts also attended the scene and refuted Mabizela’s version.”

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The matter was referred to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and prosecutors charged the officer with murder and attempted murder.

During sentencing, Mabizela was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.

Murder on the rise

The crime statistics for the second quarter of the year revealed an increase in attempted murder cases, with 6,911 cases reported between 1 July and end of September 2023 – 756 more than the same period last year.

Contact crimes such as sexual offences, attempted murder, assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, common assault, common robbery and robbery with aggravating circumstances were also on the rise.

At the same time, police have been criticised for their apparent heavy-handedness in dealing with crime.

Two weeks ago, Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Pocru) criticised “reckless” comments by Ipid, which expressed concern over the number of crime suspects dying at the hands of the police.

ALSO READ: ‘Criminals must be arrested, not killed,’ says Ipid, but Masemola says police can’t sit back and pray

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