Constable Mthetho Sandla, 35, was shot and killed while attending a robbery in progress at a petrol station in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Sandla was on patrol with a partner in the Roosendal area when they responded to the complaint at a Caltex garage along Delft Main Road at around 3am.
The Hawks’ spokesman Captain Lloyd Ramovha says the officers were ambushed by two AK47-wielding suspects who fired at them before fleeing the scene.
“Three balaclava-clad accomplices emerged from inside the store then joined them, leaving behind explosives, which points to an ATM bombing attempt,” he says.
“A 35-year-old constable succumbed to the injuries on the scene whilst a warrant officer is currently receiving treatment at a hospital.”
Ramovha says no arrests have been made yet but warned that the suspects “can run, but they cannot hide”.
Sandla is the third SAPS officer to be gunned down in the Western Cape since the beginning of the year.
Constable Lindekile Sikade, 39, was shot dead at his Philippi East Home on April 18, and Constable Luntu Nkabe, 38, was shot on April 22, while off duty in Delft.
In other cases, officers were shot and injured, and in the past month, two cops died after killing their partners before turning the gun on themselves.
Reginald Maart of the Police Board and the Blue Downs Cluster Chairperson says the latest killing is worrying.
“This is the second officer in Delft in the last few months and is a very big concern,” he says.
“All we can do is encourage our members to be more vigilant in certain areas and go in groups if they can.”
His brother Malibongwe Sandla, 46, says Mthetho was a dedicated officer who served in the force for 13 years.
“This was our worst fears coming to light, we have been fearing that with all these attacks on police that it might be his turn one day and that he would not come home,” he says.
“A while ago he attended the funeral of his colleague from Delft and now his day has come, he leaves behind three children and a broken-hearted family.”