Constable kills suspect over cell phone
By Thembelani Shadow Nqaba
A female cop shot a suspect three times in the chest without provocation in Litha township near Berlin on Wednesday morning. Thembalethu Matiki (37) was being questioned in his home by two Ndevana police officers over a stolen cellphone.
Matiki’s brother, Sinethemba Hlophekazi, who was with the deceased told that the police were looking for a stolen phone. Matiki, who was cooking lunch, came outside and told them about a man who was selling him a phone the day before.
“He asked if he can put on his shoes in the house and show them where the man stays. The police got upset and refused. He tried to reason with them and assure that he is fetching shoes but the female cop just shot him three times in the chest,” recalls Hlophekazi who cried uncontrollably minutes after the incident.
Matiki’s last words were: “I said I don’t have the phone but I can show you who does.”
The case is being investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). “We can confirm that the police constable fatally wounded the deceased on the said day. It is too early to divulge some of the information as it might jeopardise our investigation,” said spokesperson Sontaga Seisa.
His distraught mother was at work in Vincent when she was called about the incident. Boniswa Matiki says her son was finally becoming the man she had wanted him to be.
“He was responsible and wanted to get married and start a proper family. He was looking for work and fixing his place. That is why I left him with that house and moved to Fort Jackson. One minute I am at work, the next I am looking at my son lying on his back, dead in front of the kitchen with umphokoqo lying all over,” she said.
Matiki’s aunt was one of the first people to arrive on the scene. She first noticed the blood oozing out of his chest and she knew was gone.
“She shot him in his heart. I asked her why, she said nothing, she just stood over him. I could not believe that two police officers could not explain to me, a family member, why they shot my nephew,” said the aunt.
According to the deceased’s brother, the female cop had requested to come and do the questioning of the suspect herself, as he overheard.
“We are upset because he was not violent towards the police. It is as if she had a score to settle with him. The law says you must get arrested if you are a suspect, not shot dead!"