Colleagues of Lt Col-Marubini Mamatsiari carry his casket to the local graveyard.
A sombre and emotionally charged mood prevailed at Dzwerani Village in the Vuwani area over the weekend.
This was during the funeral service of Lt-Col Marubini Mamatsiari, who was shot and killed at the gate of his home a fortnight ago.
Mamatsiari (55), who was attached to the Thohoyandou vehicle investigations unit and served in the police for 32 years, met his untimely death when he was shot at point-blank range by two armed thugs when he arrived home from work.
On Sunday, the sleepy village of Dzwerani came to life when thousands of mourners came to give the dedicated cop a fitting send-off. Among the mourners were the top brass of the police from the province, led by the deputy commissioner, Gen Nyiketani Baloyi, local Thohoyandou cluster head Gen Azwihangwisi Mulaudzi, many uniformed members, relatives and community members.
The funeral service took place in a big tent next to the cop's house. A police brass band led the proceedings all the way to the local graveyard, within walking distance from the deceased's home.
Mamatsiari's murder was widely condemned from all sectors of the community. During the incident, his state-issued vehicle was also stolen and allegedly used in other robberies the same night. The vehicle was intercepted in Thohoyandou and the police then gave chase, which ended in a shoot-out between the police and the robbers, who abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot. A constable from Thohoyandou was seriously injured in the shoot-out.
At the funeral, Gen Baloyi said that criminals had declared war and everyone must stand up and together expose those bent on making life difficult for residents. He said the demise of a policeman was a great loss to the community.
"We shall not rest until all the criminals who committed these crimes are behind bars. Mamatsiari was a dedicated cop who contributed so much in the fight against crime. It will be very difficult to replace him because of the type of skills he had," said Baloyi.
The deceased's sister, Ms Selina Mamatsiari, said they were a bit relieved that one suspect had been arrested. "We are finding solace in the fact the police are keeping us abreast of all developments in the case. Our prayer is that the remaining suspect be found to face the consequences of his actions," she said.
Meanwhile, the special task team established to investigate this case made a breakthrough when they arrested a suspect a day after the incident. Hangwani Molovhedzi (29) from Ngovela village appeared in the Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court on charges of murder, car hijacking and attempted murder last Thursday.
The case was postponed to 31 January 2018 for further investigations and he remains in custody. The police are still searching for the second suspect in the case.
Date:21 October 2017 - By: Elmon Tshikhudo
Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and has since been a familiar name among the newspaper's readers.