Cape Town – The family of a 29-year-old police constable is struggling to make sense of his murder after he was shot and killed while sitting in a vehicle with friends on Wednesday.
Police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said Khanyisa Stofile, who was off-duty, died while his two friends were injured after they came under fire from an unknown gunman in Samora Machel.
Potelwa said reports at the disposal of police indicated the three were sitting in a vehicle in Oliver Tambo Road in Samora Machel when a lone gunman approached the vehicle and fired several shots at the occupants.
“All three were injured. Sadly, Stofile died in hospital in Lentegeur.”
Potelwa said Stofile, who lived in Khayelitsha, was attached to the Philippi East police station. He had worked at the station for three and a half years. She said his colleagues at Philippi East police station described the death as a tragic loss of a quiet member who was dedicated to his work.
“The Western Cape police management has conveyed heartfelt condolences to the constable’s family and colleagues,” she said
Potelwa said the Hawks had taken over the investigation.
His distraught family said they were still in shock.
His sister described him as loving and good hearted. “He was very strict and straight forward, he was my shoulder to cry on, a person who loved his family so dearly.”
Samora Machel ward councillor Sithembiso Mzobe said criminal activities and incidents of people being killed were not foreign to them. “People get killed almost everyday in Samora Machel”.
Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said the union is yet again devastated over the endless killings of police officers, and was of the view that the recent SAPS budget cuts would worsen police officers’ working conditions.
Mamabolo said the unrelenting attacks and killings of police officers remained of great concern for them, and could possibly see a higher escalation, partly as a result of the stance to cut down on the SAPS budget by the Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.
“It is concerning that during this period we find ourselves, with escalated rates of violent crimes, gender-based violence (GBV) and corruption, the minster has decided to cut down on the very important budget needed to revive the Criminal Justice Cluster (CJC) when it seems to be on a good path towards renewing its role in combating crime and corruption in the country,” he said.
Mamabolo said the ill-conceived decision could only serve to increase the burden on the already under-capacitated and under-resourced law enforcement agencies, and limit their impact.
“Many police officers in our country continue to be faced with unnerving crime fighting environments, and these pressing human tragedies continue to compete for police attention,” he said.
Anyone with information that could assist in the investigation is urged to contact the Crime Stop number 08600 10111 or via the MySAPSApp.