PIETERMARITZBURG, February 18 – The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) acting head Lt-Gen Yolisa Matakata has welcomed the 22-year prison term handed down to Hlakaniphani Miya, 33, who fatally shot South African Police Service (SAPS) Constable Sithembiso Sifiso Yende, 38, a former member of the Ladysmith tactical response team (TRT).
Matakata thanked the Hawks members and all other stakeholders who worked behind the scenes to achieve this result. “We understand very clearly that the sentencing will never bring back Constable Yende or take away the family’s hurt, but our justice system has made sure that Miya pays for his sins on this earth,” she said.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo said that on March 8, 2014, Yende, from Ezakheni in KwaZulu-Natal, reacted to cries for help from neighbours when they were attacked by three armed robbers. “While proceeding, he was confronted by the three gun-toting robbers who were shooting indiscriminately. In self-defence he shot one of the suspects, later identified as Miya, but was overwhelmed by the suspects,” he said.
The suspects fled the scene with his service pistol and Yende later succumbed to his wounds at the scene. The Hawks took over the investigation and a manhunt ensued. “In no time, feeling the heat, the three suspects handed themselves over to the investigating team.”
Nkosiyakhe Mabaso, 33, Thando Mabaso, 31, and Miya were charged accordingly and appeared in court where they were granted bail. While out on bail, the two Mabasos were shot dead during a minibus taxi rivalry incident in the Ezakheni area.
On Thursday, the Pietermaritzburg High Court sentenced Miya to 22 years imprisonment for murder, 10 years for possession of an unlicensed firearm, and five years for kidnapping of Yende’s neighbours. The sentences would run concurrently, Mhlongo said.