Table View is in shock after a robber’s bullet claimed the life of a policeman at the weekend.
Two men appeared in court on Monday in connection with the shootout that led to the officer’s death. They face charges of murder and attempted murder. A third suspect is in hospital.
Sergeant Nameto Molema, 48, was hit by a single bullet to the head during the shootout with the robbers. He died in hospital. Another officer, Sergeant Malibongwe Mnani, was shot in the leg and also hospitalised.
Police and a security company responded to a report of a robbery in progress at a Killarney Gardens business on Friday morning and found four suspects on the scene, according to SAPS provincial spokeswoman, Brigadier Novela Potelwa.
Two of the alleged robbers, aged 34 and 36, were also wounded in the shootout and arrested, said Brigadier Potelwa.
The Hawks, Crime Intelligence and the National Intervention Unit arrested two more suspects on Saturday, according to Hawks spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Philani Nkwalase.
On Monday, Lieutenant-Colonel Nkwalase said the wounded suspects had been held under police guard at the hospital but one of them had since been discharged and released as there had been insufficient evidence to hold him.
Messages of condolences poured in for the slain police officer from civic groups and Table View residents. Table View Community Police Forum, chairman David Harris, said they were devastated at the news of Sergeant Molema’s death.
“We are also devastated at the manner of his death. We join with our SAPS partners in their grieving for this fine SAPS member and will always be here to support them,” he said.
In a statement, the Table View Neighbourhood Watch executive committee said: “We would like to offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues with the loss of Sergeant Molema who gave his life for the safety of this community. We also wish Sergeant Mnani a speedy recovery from his injuries. And let us not forget the members who through this incident sustained the type of injuries that can’t be seen, the effects of which can be as debilitating as physical injuries, if not more.”
Many Table View residents also posted messages of support on Facebook and Twitter. Haley Gimingham wrote: “These men and women have an often thankless and dangerous job, and I won’t even start when it comes to the amount of money they earn to put that uniform on.
“Many have nothing good to say about our police until they take a bullet for someone. That is the sad truth. We need to start giving our police respect now while they are alive.”
Wade Seale, spokesman for Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz, urged anyone with information to come forward.
“We would also like to extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the officer. We are always concerned when we lose good men and women in uniform, especially in the line of duty,” he said.
The public paid tribute to the fallen officer by hanging blue ribbons on the gates of the police station.
The Table View Security Forum opened a bank account where people can make donations for Sergeant Molema’s family. Non-monetary contributions can be dropped off at the Table View Neighbourhood Watch control room at Viveka House, Parklands Main Road.
Table View SAPS acting station commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Christa Nel, did not respond to questions by time of publication.