KZN police activate 72-hour plan to trace suspects in killing of Ndwendwe police station commander

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KwaZulu-Natal police have activated the 72-hour activation plan to trace and arrest the suspects who were involved in the killing of the acting station commander from the Ndwedwe Police Station, north of Durban. It is believed that 57-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Jabulani Ndawonde was gunned down at the Bhamshela Taxi Rank on his way home on Monday night.

He was declared dead at the scene.

The Ndawonde family say they believe that Lieutenant Colonel Ndawonde was killed because of his no-nonsense attitude to fighting crime.

Colleagues and neighbours have been visiting the family to pay their respects. Women gathered on a mattress in a rondavel with a burning candle; a cultural practice when a loved one dies.

Family of police station commander gunned down north of Durban, says hit likely tied to his work:

Ndawonde’s brother, Sanele Ndawonde, has described his brother’s death as a great loss.

“What we suspect is that his murder is related to his work. He himself knew when he took this job that it was a very dangerous job and we’ve seen on social media people are saying this is just the beginning so I think it’s people who are against the work that the police are doing. The little that I know is that he used to arrest people no matter who you are. He would hunt you down and arrest you,” Ndawonde’s brother says.

Sanele says he believes that killings are on the increase in the area.

“Murder has increased in the area; we have seen a lot of incidences on newspapers. Just last week, there were people who were shot and killed just above us, I think it was five people, so it’s these things that are going on in the area. Incidents are increasing just as you’ve seen it happening here in the family. From what I know so far, there are no arrests that have been made but we have hope that they will be arrest made as the Hawks have taken over the investigation.”

Ndawonde ‘helpful person who loved his community’

Neighbours have described Ndawonde as a helpful person who loved his community. One of them, Celamandla Chiya, shares his deep respect for the fallen officer.

“He loved his community, he fought for this country, he has been killed because he was fighting for this country. We are now living in fear because we don’t know who will be next; almost every weekend someone is killed in this community. We think he has been killed for his role in fighting against crime. He loved his job. He was hands on. We were able to call him even at midnight whenever we were having problems here in the community,” says Chiya.

Similarly, Busi Ndlovu shares her concerns about crime in the area.

“His departure disturbed us, He loved us as neighbours, it was easy to even report to him our troublesome children and he would discipline them. He was available even at night. He never complained. He would come and resolve your problem. He was protecting us. Our children knew that he wanted discipline. We are now living in fear because if criminal activities that are escalating in our area.”

Police appeal for information

National Police Spokesperson, Vishnu Naidoo, is appealing to community members to come forward with information that could lead to arrests.

“The National commissioner of police General Khehla John Sitole has directed the immediate mobilisation of the 72-hours activation plan following the killing of the lieutenant Colonel at Ndwedwe north d Durban in KwaZulu-Natal. The acting station commander at Ndwedwe police station, Jabulani Ndawonde, was driving to his home when at about 18:30 last night, he was gunned down near the Bhamshela Taxi Rank. We are appealing to anyone who has any information on who might be responsible to contact the police.”

In February, during a visit to the province, Police Minister Bheki Cele spoke out strongly against police killings in the province. At the time, two officers had been killed near Taylor’s Halt outside Pietermaritzburg. They were from the Plessislaer and Richmond police stations.

In a statement, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Community Safety, Liaison and Transport, Peggy Nkonyeni, says that between April 2020 and March 2021, 11 on-duty and 10 off-duty police officers were killed in the province.