Durban – KwaZulu-Natal police are still searching for the truck driver involved in the hit-and-run in Ladysmith where a Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) officer was killed.
Police spokesperson, Colonel Thembeka Mbhele, confirmed that they were yet to make an arrest.
On Sunday, Thokozani Cele and his colleagues were stationed on the N3 highway performing a speed arrest operation when a truck failed to stop, killing him instantly.
Police spokesperson, Colonel Thembeka Mbele said the 41-year-old Ladysmith traffic officer was performing his duties on the N3 Freeway northbound when he was knocked by a truck
“He died at the scene and the truck driver drove off,” said Mbele.
The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda said the incident is a huge blow to the Traffic fraternity and a setback to the department’s commitment to save lives on the road.
“This is a great loss to the department. The manner in which Cele died was unfortunate as it clearly indicates that the suspect is an irresponsible driver as he failed to stop,” said Kaunda.
RTI spokesperson, Zinhle Mngomezulu, said killing a person is charged with culpable homicide but “to us it doesn’t look like culpable homicide.”
“It looks like he [the truck driver] intended to do it because he didn’t stop at the scene. If he was scared that maybe he would be attacked then why didn’t he report to the nearest police station,” said Mngomezulu.
Cele’s sister-in-law, Gugu Jele said his family were expecting to see him walk through the door the morning after his shift but got a message of his passing instead.
“It’s very difficult, it’s such a shock, we just not holding up,” she said.
Jele said the husband and father of three was a committed man in everything that he did.
“He was a committed church member, he was a committed family man, he was a committed traffic cop. His commitment explains it all, he died on the call of duty, that’s who he was. He was a very loving man who was a friend of everyone and always smiling,” said Jele.
Jele said the people of Cele’s hometown, Mathimatholo are all mourning his death.
“What soul he was, such a beautiful soul and very responsible. His wife just cannot take it. He was such a loving and committed husband, “ said Jele.
A case of culpable homicide was opened at Colenso police station.
Mngomezulu said the investigation is underway, and RTI is hoping to make an arrest very soon with the help of SAPS.
Kaunda has urged all law enforcement officers to “strain every nerve” to find the suspect.
“Anyone who may have witnessed the incident must assist the police with information that could lead to the arrest of the suspect,” said Kaunda. The Mercury