For Immediate Release 

Emotional Tributes for Murdered Metro Police Officers​

Hundreds of eThekwini Municipality Metro Police officers, officials and National Police Minister Bheki Cele, gathered at the Durban City Hall on Thursday afternoon to pay tribute to two of their fallen heroes.
Inspectors Zephania Fanifani Dladla and Nomasonto Emmelinah Mhlanga were fatally shot in the line of duty on Monday night, 20 May 2019, while undertaking protection service duties at the Bambayi home of ward 52 councillor Boxer Zulu.

The officers were approached by two males who allegedly demanded their service firearms which was used to shoot them.

A task team was appointed by provincial police to hunt down the killers, and on Thursday morning, 23 May 2019, police arrested three suspects in KwaMashu. The fourth suspect sustained gunshot injuries after exchanging fire with police, and he is presently under heavy police guard in hospital. 

Police recovered a firearm belonging to one of the deceased officers, and are continuing investigations into the murder. In the emotional ceremony, which included family members of the deceased officers, Minister Cele praised the dedication of the officers to their work.

“It should be treason to kill or murder a police officer no matter what level they are. These two officers were simply doing their work, and these useless criminals cut their lives short. The criminals have declared a war that we shall fight,” he said.

EThekwini Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer said the Municipality was saddened at the loss of the seasoned officers. “Their lives were callously snatched in the line of duty. We are grieving with their families,” she said.

Head of Metro Police, Steve Middleton, said both Dladla and Mhlanga were dedicated officers. “For 42 years I have not only gone to sleep as the father of my children, but as the father of all the Metro Police officers. It’s the worst situation when you get a message that something tragic like this happened. These officers were dedicated to the policing profession,” he said.

Acting director of the Metro Police North Regional Command, Vasantha Singh, said she had fond memories of both officers. Just recently, she had spoken to Mhlanga about a promotion to acting captain at the King Shaka International Airport.

“She was so excited, and those last words she said to me will forever ring in my head,” she said. Moses Mhlanga, a relative of Mhlanga said the family had been devastated upon hearing of the death of a lively member of the family, and was comforted by the words of Minister Cele. 

Reuben Matsimbi, a relative of Dladla, said the deaths were unnecessary and labelled it an ambush.

The funeral services of the officers are expected to take place this weekend.

Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela. For more information contact 031 311 4820/18.