ZIMBABWE through its Embassy in South Africa says it is verifying the nationalities of four suspects allegedly involved in the killing of a police officer in Johannesburg’s Diepsloot area.
Detective Captain Oupa Matjie was shot dead by the four suspects alleged to be Zimbabweans by media reports in South Africa.
According to the media reports, Praymore Dube, Bongani Moyo, Mongameli Mpofu and another one only identified as Ronny shot Det Capt Matjie (54) in the neck and he died on the spot.
Matjie and a colleague were tracking suspects who were wanted in connection with a case of attempted murder and robbery when they came into contact with the suspects, and one of them opened fire.
Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa, Mr David Hamadziripi, yesterday said that he has since directed the Johannesburg Consulate to verify the nationalities of the four suspects.
“The nationalities of the Diepsloot murder suspects are yet to be verified. You cannot claim that one is a Zimbabwean simply because of their accent without looking into their identity documents. I have directed our officials at the Johannesburg Consulate to verify whether those suspects are indeed Zimbabweans or not,” he said.
Mr Hamadziripi, however, condemned the fatal attack on the South African police officer and urged Zimbabweans resident in the neighbouring country to desist from any form of criminality.
“We strongly condemn any act of criminality by either our people or anyone in South Africa. We want our people to abide by the laws of our host country in as much as we would also want foreign nationals in Zimbabwe to respect our laws,” he said.
Last week, Captain Matjie and his colleague only identified as Sergeant Thipe conducted a joint tracing operation with Diepsloot Crime Prevention following a case of attempted murder and robbery which occurred in the area.
“The case had been allegedly committed by the four suspects. During the tracing that was led by the informant who called the main suspect known as Praymore Dube to supply him with the live ammunition, the target told the informant to meet with him first at Ext 01 and changed again to Tanganani open space at Diepsloot Ext 3,” said South African Police Service (SAPS) in a statement.
It is reported that the detectives then hid their vehicles before taking cover in an open ground.
The informant walked to meet Dube while a police officer in civilian clothing followed him. Dube is alleged to have noticed some unusual movements and started to shoot randomly.
Dube reportedly managed to escape and Capt Matjie grabbed him from behind, as he ran through a passage to the informal settlement where he was staying. He, however, shot the detective on the neck. After the shooting, Dube and Moyo fled.
Mpofu was later arrested and he appeared at the Randburg Magistrates’ Court on charges of house robbery and attempted murder.
He was remanded in custody while the other suspect who was not named is in hospital under police guard after he was injured while being apprehended. The other two suspects were arrested in Pine Heaven informal settlement in Krugersdorp.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s Police Minister General Bheki Cele last night said they were deploying a Tactical Response Team to Dieplsoot to attend to the community’s policing concerns.
“We have deployed a Special Operations Team to the township to tackle criminality. In the next 24 hours, members of the Technical Response Team (TRT) will start operations in Diepsloot to increase police visibility,” said the minister.
General Cele said police will conduct regular patrols, cordon, and searches as well as roadblocks.
He added that the Special Operations Team will by Monday have other members of various SAPS components working from the township.
These will include officers from Crime Intelligence, Public Order Policing, and Forensics Services.
“The Firearms Liquor and Second Hand Goods Control unit will also conduct raids and shut down all establishments operating outside the law.
“A team from Detective Services will look into cold cases and allegations that some investigations involving undocumented foreigners remain unsolved. We also made an undertaking that the officials from the Department of Home Affairs immigration services, should work with these teams so we have a clearer picture of the statuses of people in this township. But this is not to say the focus is on foreign nationals only, we will be hard on criminality regardless of nationality,” said General Cele.
Diepsloot Township population is estimated to be 350 000, mainly a mixture of South Africans and immigrants from SADC.