Pretoria – The Hawks have welcomed the hefty sentences handed down to two suspects for the murder of a police officer and shop owner.
Jacky Muller (34) and Nkosinathi Hlatshwayo (32) were each sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for the murder of Constable Joseph Chauke (33) and the tuck shop owner, Modus Woneme (36).
The pair were killed in July 2014 at Eersterus Temba, North of Pretoria, when police officers responded to a business robbery to which a shootout ensued between the police and at least four suspects.
Constable Chauke was fatally wounded during the ensuing gun battle while Woneme, who also got shot, succumbed to his injuries at the local hospital.
After months of investigations, after the shootout, a joint intelligence driven operation made a major breakthrough through the assistance of the criminal record centre positively linked Khumalo, who was arrested in August 2015.
Another suspect known as “Madala”, was also identified, however he died the same year before the authorities could arrest him.
The Hawks said during Khumalo’s trial, Hlatshwayo and Muller were implicated through the testimony given before court, however, the same charges against them were withdrawn.
In March this year, Hlatshwayo and Muller cases were reinstated after they were positively identified through DNA.
The Acting National Head of the Hawks, Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata, welcomed the sentencing.
“The sentence should serve as a lesson to criminals that crime does not pay. My sincere appreciation to all the members who worked tirelessly to attain this successes and we hope this will endure to other cases where such collaboration would yield good results and make sure that criminals are kept in prison,” said Lieutenant General Matakata.