Brave city po­lice­man hailed as a hero

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO NEWS - Or­rin Singh

I took cover be­hind a shop, took out my firearm and that’s when he started shoot­ing at me

CAP­TAIN Ve­lasazi Ndlela strikes a slen­der fig­ure in com­par­i­son to some of his more burly po­lice col­leagues, but don’t let this fool you – he’s a force to be reck­oned with. Ndlela has been hailed a lo­cal hero fol­low­ing his brave ef­fort in sin­gle-hand­edly tak­ing down four busi­ness rob­bery sus­pects, two of whom were armed, at PEP Stores in Union Street in Em­pan­geni on Thurs­day. Ac­cord­ing to Ndlela he was off duty and dressed in civil­ian clothes, and had been in­side the store with his wife to pur­chase her a cell­phone when four men en­tered. ‘We had been in­side the store for only about a minute when the four en­tered. I par­tic­u­larly no­ticed one of them be­cause he had a pair of shoes on that caught my at­ten­tion. ‘Then they left the store and dis­ap­peared. ‘The next thing I no­ticed was one of them reap­pear­ing in the store and head­ing straight to­wards the cashiers with a big black suit­case. ‘I then saw an­other sus­pect point­ing a firearm at the se­cu­rity guard’s waist and push­ing him for­ward. That’s when I re­alised a rob­bery was in progress. ‘I also saw that the store man­ager was be­ing in­structed by a third robber to open the cu­bi­cle in which the cell­phones were kept. Ndlela said at that stage he wanted to get out of the store to sound the alarm and no­tify his col­leagues about what was go­ing on, but when he at­tempted to leave, a sus­pect sta­tioned at the en­trance pulled out his firearm and told him to back off. ‘He pushed me back and told me ‘they are work­ing here now’. ‘I just re­mained calm and stood still, un­til an­other cus­tomer also wanted to leave.’ While the robber’s at­ten­tion was di­verted while en­gag­ing that cus­tomer, Ndlela took a split sec­ond de­ci­sion that would re­sult in the ar­rest of all four sus­pects. ‘I saw my op­por­tu­nity and I ran out the store. The sus­pect chased after me and I took cover be­hind a shop, took out my firearm and that’s when he started shoot­ing at me, shout­ing at his friends to make a get­away,’ Ndlela said. The sus­pect with the suit­case ran out and at­tempted to flee, but was shot in the leg dur­ing the ex­change of gun­fire be­tween Ndlela and the door watch robber. The two re­main­ing sus­pects in­side the store at­tempted to es­cape, but were con­fronted by Ndlela, who in­structed them to re­main in­side. Ndlela called for back-up and the sus­pect who shot at him was ar­rested a few me­tres from the scene by po­lice of­fi­cers. Two unlicensed firearms and the suit­case con­tain­ing an undis­closed amount of cash were seized. The two in­jured rob­bers were taken to Ng­welezana Hos­pi­tal for treat­ment and are be­ing kept un­der po­lice guard. All four sus­pects aged be­tween 21 and 34 will ap­pear in the Em­pan­geni Magistrate’s Court to­day (Mon­day) fac­ing charges of at­tempted mur­der, rob­bery and pos­ses­sion of unlicensed firearms and am­mu­ni­tion. Ndlela in the mean­time has re­ceived heaps of praise from his su­pe­ri­ors and the com­mu­nity. He was awarded with a cer­tifi­cate of brav­ery fol­low­ing his heroic ef­forts by act­ing KZN Com­mis­sioner, Ma­jor Gen­eral Bheki Langa, at the SAPS King Cetshwayo Clus­ter po­lice pa­rade held on Fri­day in Em­pan­geni.

Gen­eral Bheki Langa hands over a cer­tifi­cate of brav­ery to Cap­tain Ve­lasazi Ndlela dur­ing Fri­day’s po­lice pa­rade in recog­ni­tion of his heroic ef­forts in Em­pan­geni last week when he took on four busi­ness rob­bers by him­self

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