The Herald (South Africa)
Cop recalls shooting of constable
Witness tells of shock at finding victim wearing bulletproof vest
APOLICEMAN has told how he chased down an armed suspect after seeing him shoot at a man seated in his car in broad daylight – and of his shock when he returned to check on the driver and found that he was wearing a police bulletproof vest.
The victim, Constable Devin Hattingh, was dead.
Yesterday, Hattingh’s family comforted each other in the Port Elizabeth High Court as the murder trial started.
Hattingh’s silver Volkswagen Polo, driven to the court by his police officer wife, Blanche, was parked outside.
A bullet hole was still visible in the driver’s seat, where Hattingh was sitting when he was shot just after noon on July 28 2014.
Hattingh, 31, stationed at the Mount Road uniform branch, was off duty and performing private security services for a furniture removal truck at the time.
Yesterday, Constable Vuyani Libi said he and two colleagues were patrolling in Motherwell when they heard a gunshot.
Libi, who was driving the marked police vehicle, slammed on the brakes in Nyara Street when he spotted a man – dressed in a grey tracksuit top and black cap – shoot at the driver of a silver Polo vehicle.
When the perpetrator spotted Libi and his colleagues, he shot at them and fled.
Libi said he returned to his vehicle and they gave chase.
Charles Nqaba, 24, was arrested in Mgwalene Street, just metres away, in the alleged getaway vehicle.
“I returned to the Polo and was shocked to see the victim wearing a police bulletproof vest,” Libi said. “He was already dead.”
It emerged that Hattingh died from multiple gunshot wounds, including one to the neck.
Nqaba and Jabulani Mkaba, 26, pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of murder, attempted murder and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Mkaba, a photographer, was arrested at a tavern the following day, after being linked to the alleged getaway vehicle.
His friend, Mzuvukile Mapasa, had testified earlier that Mkaba had gone to see him some time in early July 2014.
“He wanted me to rent a vehicle for him in my name,” he said.
Because Mapasa owed him a favour, he agreed to do so.
“He deposited money into my bank account and we went to Avis at Greenacres together,” Mapasa said in response to questions by state advocate Jason Thysse.
He never saw the rented white Ford Fiesta again.
“I was informed of an arrest and that police had confiscated the vehicle, so I went to the police station to find out more,” Mapasa said.
Defence attorney Deon Erasmus said Mkaba would say that he needed the vehicle for a photography job out of town.
He had asked Mapasa to rent the vehicle because he still owed Avis money for damage to a vehicle he had rented previously.
The trial continues today.