“The court has decided. There’s nothing we can say. But it’s not right. I don’t understand why my son has to be killed just for knocking someone’s car.”
This was the reaction from a heartbroken Pietermaritzburg father whose 17-year-old son, Mlindeli Ngcobo, was cold-bloodedly shot in the head, allegedly by Hlengiwe Mkhize, a policewoman.
No reason for her action has yet been established
Mkhize was arrested on Wednesday by members of the police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate. Officers arranged a meeting with her in town, but then swooped and put her under arrest.
Using her large hat to shield her face from the camera, Mkhize spent a night at the Plessislaer police holding cells, before appearing in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, where she was released on R1 000 bail.
Mlindeli’s grief-stricken father, Alan Ngcobo, a taxi owner and businessman, said he and his family were disappointed she had been granted bail and were devastated by the killing.
“My heart is broken. We are disturbed and life is just not the same in this household.”
Mlindeli, with only a learner driver’s licence, was involved in a fender bender with 31-year-old constable Mkhize’s private car in July. The incident took place in Mlindeli’s neighbourhood, Taylor’s Halt, some 40km from the Pietermaritzburg central business district.
Both alighted from their cars and discussed the accident.
The Ngcobo family contends that once the discussion was finished, both Mlindeli and Mkhize went back to their cars and that Mlindeli had already pulled off when she suddenly pulled out her service pistol and allegedly shot him in the back of his head, with the bullet exiting through his eye. Mlindeli lost control of the car, which landed on an embankment.
Mlindeli had been driving with four young siblings and two members of the extended family, some of whom sustained minor injuries.
The family claims that Mkhize tried to prevent bystanders helping Mlindeli and that he was eventually rushed to Edendale but only after the arrival of his older brother, Sizotha.
Mlindeli was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly afterwards.
Ngcobo, who also owns horses and tractors, said his son meant “everything” to him.
“He was helpful. Even when my taxis had mechanical problems, I could always count on him. Now everything has come to a standstill.”
Ngcobo also dismissed claims earlier by police that his son had been trying to hijack a car when he was shot.
“My son was a good young man. To suggest that is an insult to me. Why would he do that when he was driving a car with his younger brothers, sisters and cousins?
“But there’s nothing we can do. We are governed by the law, so the law must take its course. But I don’t understand why my son must be killed.”
Ngcobo said he had gone to Taylor’s Halt SAPS, where Mkhize was stationed, to demand answers, but was met by an indifferent and rude reception from Mkhize’s colleagues.
“I asked the police why they hadn’t bothered to make contact with us, but the officer was very rude. He said, ‘Police do not apologise’. I asked him if it is right for my child to be killed like this, and he said it was up to me to make up my mind about that.”
The matter returns to court on September 20. - Tribune