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Four Gauteng cops jailed for 2019 murder of Katlehong resident Phikolomzi Tatsi

The High Court in Johannesburg has sentenced four Gauteng police officers for the 2019 murder of Phikolomzi Tatsi who was a car occupant, after the driver refused to pay a bribe. File Picture

The High Court in Johannesburg has sentenced four Gauteng police officers for the 2019 murder of Phikolomzi Tatsi who was a car occupant, after the driver refused to pay a bribe. File Picture

Published Oct 15, 2021

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Pretoria - The High Court Johannesburg has sentenced four members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to 15 years imprisonment each for the murder of Katlehong resident Phikolomzi Tatsi.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Gauteng spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said Vusumuzi Mtshali, Simphiwe Lydia Kubheka, Themba Kunene and Khayelihle Gumede were further sentenced to six years for each of the two counts of attempted murder, whilst Mtshali received an additional four years for corruption.

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“The sentences were ordered to run concurrently with the murder sentence, resulting in an effective 15 years imprisonment term. The four officers were collectively charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder, with an additional charge of corruption against Mtshali,” said Mjonondwane.

She explained that on 9 March 2019, Msindisi Cici was transporting his brothers to their place of residence in Katlehong, and Tatsi was a passenger in the vehicle.

On their arrival, a marked SAPS vehicle stopped next to Cici's vehicle.

“Two officers – Mtshali and Kubheka were in the marked vehicle. Mtshali requested to see Cici's driver's license. Both officers suspected that Cici was driving under the influence of alcohol. Thereafter, Mtshali demanded money from Cici in order to get his license back,” said Mjonondwane.

Cici refused to pay, and the police officers then attempted to arrest him.

“When Cici refused to be handcuffed and demanded reasons for his arrest, the officers called for back-up. Cici was eventually placed in the police vehicle and was transported to Katlehong North police station. His brothers followed the police to the said police station,” said Mjonondwane.

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“At the police station, Cici was taken to the back of the charge office to be assaulted by five officers. Tatsi and Gcin'umuzi Sotondoshe were also brought in to join Cici. They (police officers) continued to assault all three men and later loaded them into a police van and drove around Katlehong and Vosloorus with them before taking them to hospital.”

Tatsi was declared dead inside the police van.

In aggravation of sentence, Tatsi's wife testified about the effects of the murder of her husband, citing that three of her children cannot cope with the loss of their father, who was also the breadwinner.

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Senior State Advocate David Mothibe argued that the officers failed to uphold the rule of law, stating that they failed to take reasonable steps to preserve life even after severely assaulting the complainants. Mothibe submitted that the officers failed to seek immediate help after assaulting the men.

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