Jail for KZN policeman who accidentally shot dead man who bit part of his partner's eyebrow off

By Jolene Marriah-Maharaj Time of article published Oct 21, 2021

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Durban: A KwaZulu-Natal policeman, who pleaded guilty to the accidental fatal shooting of a man who bit off the flesh of another cop’s eyebrow, has been jailed for eight years.

As part of a Section 105 plea and sentence agreement, Sergeant Nkosikhona Ndlovu, 46, pleaded guilty to the murder of Lindelani Mkhize, 32.

The matter was finalised this week in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

Mkhize died from the gunshot wound to the head at a Shell Garage in Msinga on September 1, 2020.

According to the guilty plea, the deceased and his friends were behaving in a drunk and disorderly manner at the garage.

Ndlovu said two policemen from Msinga SAPS, a Constable Langa and a Constable Ngubane, had been filling fuel at the garage when they were sworn at by the deceased and his friend.

“Constable Ngubane approached the deceased and asked him to desist from his bad behaviour.

“The deceased swore (at) constable Ngubane and spat in his face.

“This triggered Constable Ngubane to arrest the deceased… a fight broke out and the deceased resisted violently.”

Ndlovu said the man bit Ngubane on his eyebrow, ripping out the flesh and resulting in a serious wound that was bleeding profusely.

Langa came to Ngubane’s assistance and they managed to put the deceased into the back of the police van.

Ndlovu said he was at the police station when they called for backup.

When he arrived at the scene, he found Ngubane bleeding profusely and enquired about the injury.

He also asked if the deceased had been searched for weapons before being placed in the back of the police van.

Ndlovu said he was told that they were unable to perform normal procedure as the deceased was violent. He decided to open the back of the van in order to search the deceased. He produced his firearm as a precautionary measure.

He told the court that when he opened the door, the deceased lunged at him and swore at him.

Ndlovu said that was when he fired the shot that struck the deceased on the head.

He took the man to hospital where he later died.

Ndlovu said he had not intented to kill the deceased but rather fire a warning shot to bring him under control.

Ndlovu ,who has three children and 24 years service in the SAPS, has apologised to the deceased’s family and paid for the funeral.

He told the court that he was remorseful.

He said he was upset at the constant attack on police by members of public.

Constable Ngubane spent seven days in hospital and underwent reconstructive surgery to his eyebrow. Ndlovu also noted that the man had spat on Ngubane during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The court found that the officer was an excellent candidate for rehabilitation and, therefore, deviated from the prescribed sentence of 15 years.


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