Thug's death brings joy
THE community of Mariannhill in KwaZulu-Natal was in high spirits yesterday after police allegedly killed a gangster.
The notorious gangster is said to have terrorised the community.
He is also said to have masterminded more than eight murders and an attempted murder. He was also accused of house robbery, escaping from lawful custody, burglary and a number of hijackings.
News that Sabelo Innocent Mtolo was gunned down in a shootout on Tuesday night spread fast at St Wendolins, leaving residents celebrating.
Mtolo, 23, had an arrest warrant issued against him by the Pinetown Magistrate's Court after he contravened his bail conditions.
Members of the Chatsworth and Mariannhill crime prevention units and the KwaZulu-Natal tracking team mobilised after sourcing information of Mtolo's whereabouts.
On Sunday Mtolo and three accomplices forced open the door of a residence in Ekuphumeleleni Road and robbed its occupants at gunpoint.
During the robbery two people were shot and Thamsanqa Shange, 28, died. Another victim is fighting for his life at the RK Khan Hospital.
Yesterday Mbongwa Dlamini said the police had saved lives by shooting Mtolo.
"We know of a number of people killed by [him] in the area. He would just stop people going to work and rob them of their belongings.
"People were scared of him because if you refused to obey him he shot at you in full view of the public," Dlamini said.
Bongeka Mandla said many had survived by giving Mtolo money when he attacked.
"In the past few months he killed a man in front of his family. It's a relief [he's] dead," Mandla said.
Police spokesman LieutenantColonel Vincent Mdunge said Mtolo opened fire when police moved in to arrest suspects in the vicinity of the Hans Dettman traffic lights in Mariannhill.
"An officer returned fire, fatally wounding him. Two firearms with their serial numbers erased were recovered at the scene," he said.
"One of them is believed to have been taken during the hijacking of a Pinetown policeman."
Mdunge said a second suspect, who was with Mtolo at the time of the shootout, managed to flee the scene.
He said Mtolo was believed to have been the mastermind behind the majority of the criminal activities they had investigated in areas around Mariannhill.
"Charges of house robbery, attempted murder and murder were registered for investigation and the police were on the lookout for the three suspects who were also being sought for a string of offences, allegedly committed in the Chatsworth and Mariannhill areas.
"These include eight murders, two armed robberies with aggravating circumstances, five charges of escaping from lawful custody and jumping bail," Mdunge said.
He added that the shooting incident was reported to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).
He was vowed that the remaining suspects would be brought to book.
"An intensive search has been launched to arrest the outstanding suspects."