Several people found guilty of killing police officers in the Eastern Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal between 2012 and 2017 have been handed hefty prison sentences for their crimes.
Nine police killers were sentenced to a combined nine life sentences while two have been given a total of 32 years imprisonment.
According to the national Police Commissioner's office, six accused were recently convicted of killing Eastern Cape Warrant Officer Mawethu Singana and a motorist in 2012.
Singana had responded to an armed robbery in progress in Ngqeleni near Mthatha in July 2012, and, upon pursuing the suspects, a shootout ensued, killing Singana and one other suspect.
"The accused went on to rob the police of their rifle and pistol, and tried to hijack a woman who was driving by. Upon resistance the accused shot and killed the woman before fleeing the scene," said police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Brenda Muridili.
The accused, Welcome Mfiki, Nhlanhla Mvoko, Zwelithini Gibeni, Sinethemba Dangazele, Sonwabile Makhonco and Menzi Zekani, were sentenced on June 7 by the Mthatha High Court to three life sentences each for the murders; that of Sinanga, a community member and their accomplice who died at the scene.
They were sentenced to a further 15 years for each remaining 37 counts, culminating into a combined 555 years imprisonment. The sentences will not run concurrently.
Off duty cops
"The other three police officers that were killed are Warrant Officer Z Nyakaza, Warrant Officer TN Mkhize and Sergeant KG Lefosa.
Nyakaza was killed in Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape, while off duty in October 2016. Two of his killers were found guilty; one was sentenced to life imprisonment while the second accused was given 20 years in prison," Muridili said.
Mkhize was stabbed to death in Umzinto, KZN by unknown suspects in October 2017. Both accused were sentenced to life imprisonment.
Lefosa on the other hand was killed in Bloemspruit, Free State in April 2017 while off duty.
"The accused was sentenced to 12 years in prison," said Muridili.
The National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, General Khehla John Sitole has welcomed the sentences given to the accused.
"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.