THE two policemen shot after a dramatic chase along the N2 near Kinkelbos outside Port Elizabeth on Sunday have been identified. Sergeant Thembile Gulwa, 58, died at the scene and Warrant Officer Jaques Nell, 42, was rushed to hospital and later discharged.
A 37-year-old man is expected to appear in the Alexandria Magistrate’s Court on charges of murder and attempted murder today. Police are still searching for six other suspects.
Police spokesman Captain Andre Beetge said Gulwa and Nell responded when members of the Kinkelbos police station on routine patrol close to the station – Warrant Officer Vuyisile Tembani, 54, and Constable Pholisa Nqana, 32 – spotted a white Corsa bakkie driving at a very high speed towards Port Elizabeth.
“What made it even more suspicious was the reckless overtaking of other vehicles.
“They started to chase the suspicious vehicle in order to pull it over and search it and the persons in it.
“Warrant Officer Tembani realised on seeing the number of persons on the bakkie that he would need some backup to assist him. There were two people inside the bakkie and five on the open back.
“He radio messaged another vehicle close by for assistance and Warrant Officer Nell and Sergeant Gulwa responded,” Beetge said.
He said the officers stopped the bakkie after a high-speed chase and the occupants started shooting when backup arrived.
“Sergeant Gulwa was struck by a shot in his head and Warrant Officer Nell got hit in his right shoulder. The police members took cover and at the same time the driver of the Corsa bakkie got back in and sped off,” Beetge said.
Gulwa died at the scene and the wounded Nell was taken to hospital, where he was treated for a flesh wound and discharged.
“The members alerted all other police members on duty and about 40 minutes later the Corsa bakkie was recovered in a bushy area a few kilometres away. A manhunt for the killers incorporating the K9 unit and the police’s Air Wing ensued.
“A firearm and ammunition left on the back of the bakkie were recovered.
“Police also took three possible suspects in for questioning, but only one of them could be linked to the incident.”
Gulwa, a policeman for 28 years who lived in Ngqamakhwe in the Amathole District, had a wife Noxolo and three children.
Beetge said Gulwa’s death had left his colleagues traumatised.
“Sergeant Gulwa will forever be remembered and honoured for paying the highest price in service of our nation.”