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CityPress - - News - ATHANDIWE SABA athandiwe.saba@city­press.co.za

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

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