Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Police shot and killed Lucky Ntinga, one of KwaZulu-Natal's most wanted and dangerous hitmen, in the early hours of yesterday in Umlazi, south of Durban.

Police claim that Ntinga, 32, had tried to shoot police officers when he was gunned down.

His death brings to 11 the number of suspected criminals killed by police since October. The deaths follow the "shoot to kill" order given by provincial and national police political heads.

Superintendent Jay Naicker said police officers picked Ntinga up at a house in Mandeni on the North Coast yesterday.

"The suspect was found in possession of a hijacked vehicle," Naicker said. He was questioned by the officers and agreed to point out some firearms in Umlazi.

"The suspect took the police to a house where two other hijacked vehicles were found."

Naicker said Ntinga pointed out a 9mm pistol to cops in the house and also informed them of an automatic firearm that was hidden at the back of the house.

While Ntinga was walking to the back of the house he allegedly pushed the officers aside and grabbed a 9mm pistol hidden behind a flower pot, Naicker said.

He said one of the police officers snatched the firearm from Ntinga and fired two shots, fatally wounding him.

Ntinga was wanted for a series of crimes in the province, including five murders in Mpumalanga and Mariannhill, west of Durban.

He was also wanted for robbery at Mandeni, where R850000 was stolen.

Naicker said Ntinga worked in the taxi industry but was also a part-time robber and contract killer.

National intervention unit commander Senior Superintendent Dinesh Chetty vowed that his unit would take on criminals.

"We are ready to take on anyone who is guilty of an offence irrespective of who they are," Chetty said.

"Our members are trained for any situation and criminals are 'stupid' if they think they can take us on."

Meanwhile, nine men were nabbed in an operation in Mbongolwane near Eshowe.

Police recovered six firearms and 15 bags of dagga. Naicker said police were acting on information at Edakeni near Eshowe when they arrested five men with 15 bags of dagga.

"Four other men were arrested and we recovered an AK-47, three shotguns, two pistols and ammunition in an area known for violence during the festive season," he said.