Police believe bad cops sold out Chonco to killers

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The hit on "super cop" Superintendent Zethembe Chonco has blown the division between KwaZulu-Natal's good and bad cops wide open.

"There are those police who are willing to do their job honestly and those who are corrupt," a source told Sowetan this week at his memorial service.

"Chonco was a no-nonsense person and had dealt with corrupt officers in his area too," the informant said.

He said there were factions in the force and it appeared that the hit on Chonco was prompted by inside information.

"There is no way the attackers could have known exactly when Chonco and his team were going to be in the area," an officer said.

"They had the correct information that was known only to the police."

The police said Chonco was killed because he had identified corrupt officers with ties to violent taxi bosses and that one of the alleged killers, Lee Buthelezi, was on the wanted list in a murder case Chonco was investigating.

The police shot and killed Buthelezi at his home the next day when he opened fire on them.

The police said Buthelezi was one of the four gangsters who ambushed Chonco and his colleagues when they were escorting prisoners to the KwaDukuza magistrate's court last week.

They said Buthelezi had been a hitman in a number of murders connected to the violence between the Chesterville and Cato Manor taxi associations.

At Chonco's memorial service in Kranskop his colleagues said the two remaining suspects - one suspect died on the scene - would be brought to book soon.

There were whispers at the service that a police investigation would also look at cops suspected of ratting on him to his assailants.

Chonco served the police for 26 years and was awarded several medals, including one for the best cop in the province.

He will be buried at his rural home in KwaNongoma tomorrow.