Simphiwe Wellington Mhlungu, a 36 year old man, has been found guilty by the Madadeni High Court for the murder of Sergeant Protas Siphiwe Mazibuko, a dedicated officer attached to the Ladysmith SAPS K9 Unit.
The court verdict was delivered on Friday, 21 July 2023, and Mhlungu was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for his heinous crime.
The collaborative efforts of the Newcastle Hawks and the Ladysmith SAPS played a crucial role in ensuring that the suspect faced the full force of the law. Hawks’ spokesperson Captain Bonnie Nxumalo shed light on the details of Mhlungu’s conviction and sentencing.
“In December 2021, Sergeant Protas Siphiwe Mazibuko (43) who was attached to Ladysmith K9 Unit was driving his vehicle to his place of residence when his vehicle was knocked from behind by an unknown vehicle,” revealed Captain Nxumalo.
Following the collision, Sgt Mazibuko exited his vehicle to assess the situation, only to be brutally shot and killed, with his service firearm subsequently stolen by the assailant.
Subsequently, a joint investigative team comprising Newcastle based Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation officers and Ladysmith police personnel from the Visible Policing, K9 Unit, Tactical Response Team, and Crime Intelligence departments diligently worked to crack the case.
Thanks to their relentless efforts, Mhlungu was apprehended merely two days after the incident, and found in possession of Sgt Mazibuko’s stolen firearm.
“After a five day trial which commenced from 17 to 21 July 2023, Mhlungu was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for murder, 10 years imprisonment for illegal possession of a firearm and five years’ imprisonment for theft of a firearm,” confirmed Captain Nxumalo.
The Hawks’ Provincial Head, Major General Lesetja Senona, commended the exemplary collaboration and unwavering determination demonstrated by the Ladysmith and Newcastle police officers, which ultimately led to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator.
As the news of the conviction and sentencing reverberates, we encourage readers to share their thoughts and views on this matter in the comment section below. Let us collectively acknowledge the efforts of law enforcement in bringing justice to the fallen officer and his family during this difficult time.