onstable Njabulo Buthelezi was a father, a provider and a brother, but most of all, he was a protector.
That was why the policeman – who was gunned down in a shoot-out with armed robbers at the Chris Hani Crossing in Vosloorus on July 29 – left the safety of the teaching profession to join the deadly battle against crime in South Africa.
“He left teaching over a decade ago so he could protect and serve the country. I know we won’t be the same again and I don’t know how anyone else will be,” said Njabule’s heartbroken younger brother, Melusi Buthelezi.
Buthelezi (35) and his colleague Siyabonga Moloi were patrolling at Chris Hani Crossing in Vosloorus – monitoring the area as shopkeepers opened their stores – when they came across a robbery in progress at Cash Crusaders.
A shoot-out ensued with a heavily armed gang and Buthelezi was fatally wounded. Moloi was not hit.
A manhunt was still under way to find the six robbers, police said.
Buthelezi is one of 53 police officers killed this year. The incident sparked a national outcry and reignited the heated debate about gun control and ownership in South Africa.
A total of 47 officers were killed in the comparative period last year.
Melusi told City Press that he had been informed of the shooting by a local tuck shop owner who knew his brother, and left his stock at the mall to go find him.
“When I arrived at the scene, he was in a pool of blood, but I didn’t think he was dead. He was lying on the ground so awkwardly. The police officers led me to him.
“I fell on the ground and tried to wake him up. Ngithe buti sulala kabuhlungu kangaka. Vuka, suka apha phantsi [I asked him not to sleep on the street like that] … But he wasn’t sleeping, he was dead,” said Melusi.
SLAIN Constable Njabulo Buthelezi