EAST LONDON – The Acting National Head of the Directorate For Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata welcomes the life sentences handed to the murderers who have not only robbed the South African Police Service of a dedicated police officer, but also robbed a family of a loved one.
Although such a sentence would never return Sergeant Melikhaya Mbhem (43) back, Lieutenant General Matakata said she find solace that at the end justice has been served.
Thandazile Dyantyi (30) and Lukholo Bhayibhayi (31) were both sentenced on Wednesday by the Mthatha High court to life imprisonment for the murder of Sergeant Mbhem.
“We are pleased with the sentencing which is indicative that the wheels of justice are turning. We will not tolerate such atrocious criminal acts especially against police officers. We applaud the Hawks members, the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority for their dedication throughout the investigation which resulted in the apprehension and successful prosecution of these criminals. This harsh sentence we believe will send a strong warning message to any would-be police killer that crime does not pay,” she said.
Meanwhile, On 17 April 2014 at about 6:30pm Mbhem was walking on foot in Cala when he was attacked and stabbed by the two me, stealing his service pistol in the process. Mbhem unfortunately succumbed from his wounds seven days later in hospital.
On 19 May 2014 Queenstown members of the Serious Organised Crime unit of the Hawks were roped in to investigate and received information that there was a man in Cala who was shooting randomly at night and it happened to be Dyantyi who after questioning confessed and implicated Bhayibhayi for having stolen Mbhems firearm.
Bhayibhayi who was found at his homestead, conceded to selling pistol to a foreign national. Members successfully traced Mbhem’s Service Pistol and both Dyantyi and Bhayibhayi were subsequently arrested.
The two were ultimately found guilty on 28 September 2017 by the Mthatha High court. They were sentenced on Wednesday to life imprisonment for robbery and murder, 15-years imprisonment for possession of an unlicensed firearm and 15-years for possession of ammunition. All sentences will run concurrently.