Cop's chilling warning before shooting
18 October 2013, 13:38
Pietermaritzburg, SA - "Please take care of my children.”
That was the cryptic message from a respected Pietermaritzburg
policeman to his mother-in-law before drawing his gun and shooting her daughter
on Thursday morning.
Having received a cry for help, the anxious mother was
unable to reach her daughter before her enraged husband opened fire.
Constable Mthandeni Cyril Sibisi, 36, from the Loop Street
police station, shot and seriously wounded his wife Nana Sibisi, 31, a lecturer
at the eThekwini FET College, as she made her way to work.
Sibisi then turned the gun on himself in the quiet road in
Sweetwaters. He died at the scene. Nana, who was shot in the mouth, is in a
critical condition in hospital.
Police could not confirm if the officer had used his service
pistol in the shooting.
According to Nana’s relatives, the couple had been having
marital problems and she had recently moved out with their two children to live
with her mother.
She commuted between Durban and Pietermaritzburg daily,
leaving for work in the early morning.
Nana’s mother, Ntombo Mbanjwa, who was at her daughter’s
bedside at Medi-Clinic hospital on Thursday, said she had seen Sibisi on
“He had asked me to take care of his children, but at the
time I did not understand what he meant. Now I realise that his plan was to do
She said her youngest daughter had received a call for help
from Nana early on Thursday morning, saying she had been cornered by Sibisi.
“I tried to phone her several times, but she was not
answering, and I asked my sister Lindiwe to accompany me to where they were.
“By the time we got there, they were both on the floor with
gunshot wounds,” she said.
A relative of Nana’s, Makhosazana Mbanjwa, confirmed to The
Witness that the couple had been experiencing marital problems.
“I can’t tell you what the problems were, but Nana took the
children to her mother’s house in the past four days. We were hoping that they
would solve the problems they had,” said Makhosazana.
'Good, quiet person'
“He was a good, quiet person that was striving for a better
life and living conditions for his family. He was a valuable member of the
community and we felt safe when he was around,” said Makhosazana.
She said Nana’s family had rushed to the road from where
Nana had phoned her sister for help. As they approached the scene, they heard
gunshots. “Nana was screaming for help.”
When The Witness got to the scene, women from the area had
already started gathering in the rain and mud. Most wept.
Many said Sibisi was a good man. “Why did he resort to taking
his life? If the wife was bringing him pain, he should have left her and not
done this,” cried one woman, who would not be named.
Bystanders were stunned at what the respected police officer
had done. They stood whispering amongst themselves.
Skhumbuzo Sibisi, the brother of the dead policeman, said he
needed to consult with the family before speaking to the media.
Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said an inquest
docket and an attempted murder case had been opened by police.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa admitted this week that
police are not emotionally and psychologically equipped to handle many
stressful conditions of their jobs.
Mthethwa was addressing a summit on suicide prevention for
police in Pretoria.
“Police officials deal with high job and task demands on a
daily basis. In some of these tasks, police officials must absorb many emotions
from the community ranging from anger, frustration, sadness and many more,” he
Mthethwa said police have an extended and advanced trauma
management system compared to other government departments.
In 2012, Gauteng recorded 26 police suicides, followed by
KwaZulu-Natal with 23 and North West with 13.
In 2009, the service lost 73 officers to suicides; in 2010
the figure increased to 97; in 2011 there were 85 cases; and in 2012 the figure
was 98, the highest annual number of suicides among police officers.
Up until the end of June this year, 34 police officers had
“This is a very bleak picture to say the least,” said
Tensions in personal relationships, trauma, mental health
issues and poor financial management were the main drivers of suicides.
Officers are urged to proactively take responsibility for
their personal health and wellness, while commanders are also urged to pay
attention to the wellbeing of their subordinates.
- The Witness