Teacher shoots reservist to death

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

A Limpopo teacher has been arrested and charged with murder after shooting a police reservist to death at his home on Sunday.

Reuben Khamarara Maponya, a teacher at Morutji Primary School in Bolobedu outside Tzaneen, allegedly shot and killed the police officer after suspecting him of being a thief.

Maponya, 40, was allegedly asleep at his Leretjeni village house near Relela when a group of police officers knocked and demanded that he open the bedroom door.

The officers allegedly threatened to kick the door down if Maponya did not open it.

Maponya claims that the officers did not identify themselves.

A family member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she was sleeping in the house at the time of the incident.

She heard footsteps outside the house and woke Maponya up. Someone outside demanded that they open the door.

"We thought they were thugs because of the number of attacks we have experienced in the past." she said. "So we refused to open the door."

Maponya, who is also a local moneylender, was allegedly attacked four times between 2003 and 2007 when thugs broke into his house.

"In 2004 he was attacked by a group of people who demanded R10000," the family member said. "They smashed windows and broke the burglar bars in his bedroom."

Maponya, who had just bought a new car, fired a shot at a man who was allegedly standing next to his car after looking through the window.

The dead man was later identified as Aubrey Monyela, 25, a police reservist.

Police spokesman Superintendent Mohale Ramatseba said the incident took place at about 3am on Sunday.

"Monyela was shot in the chest and died instantly," Ramatseba said. "The firearm used in the incident was found to be licensed and has been confiscated.

"The suspect will appear in the Tzaneen magistrate's court today."