The Acting National Head of the Hawks, Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata, has welcomed the sentencing of former SAPS member Clement Edward Manzini (38) to life and 66 years imprisonment by the Johannesburg High Court on Friday.

Lieutenant General Matakata said criminals have to be brought to justice and the Hawks are utterly and totally committed to bringing dangerous criminals to justice.

“Nobody is outside the justice system. Nobody is above the law regardless of who you are. We have shown that against many of the cases that we have dealt with, we have shown it in the past against organised crime, and we will continue to show it again.”

On 2 September 2014 members from the Hawks assisted by the SAPS K9 units, received information of a group of armed men using a SAPS vehicle who were intending to commit a truck hijacking in the Midrand area.  The vehicle was spotted and when attempts were made to stop it, the occupants started firing on them and a high speed chase ensued.

The vehicle eventually came to a stop after crashing into a ditch in an open field and three of the suspects attempted to flee.  They were apprehended. During the search of the vehicle, it was established that two of the suspects had died.

The deceased suspects were fully dressed in SAPS uniforms while the other three were also moderately in police attire.  Members seized an R5 rifle, three 9mm pistols, three bullet proof vests, an SAPS hand radio, a bag containing magazines with 225 rounds of ammunition and two jamming devices.

It was established at the time that one of the suspects was a SAPS member from Olifantsfontein.  It was further verified that the Chevrolet Cruz in which the suspects were travelling was stolen in Silverton and had been cloned to resemble a SAPS K9 vehicle.

The three (3) accused appeared in the Wynberg Magistrates Court and were denied bail.  They appealed this ruling and were granted bail in the High Court in December 2014.  Manzini subsequently resigned from the SAPS after his release on bail.

Manzini was once again arrested in 2016 in Kempton Park for the illegal possession of a 9mm pistol and a revolver which led to his bail being revoked by the High Court.  The case is still pending in the Kempton Park Magistrates Court.

Two other accused, Charles Ranyao (40), who was previously arrested for possession in illegal firearms in 2014, skipped bail before the trail commenced.

Stellio Rosario Mkhize (38), went on trial with Manzini and before judgment could be delivered, Mkhize decided to abscond.  Both Mkhize and Ranyao are still on the run and efforts are underway to apprehend them.

Despite, Mkhize was convicted in absentia in terms of section 159(b) of the Criminal Procedure Act, 51 of 1977 together with Manzini to two life sentences for the murder of their accomplices, 25 years for the attempted murder of SAPS members, 15 years imprisonment for possession of the R5 rifle, another 15 years imprisonment for the illegal possession of the three pistols, 5 years for theft of a motor vehicle, 5 years for conspiracy to murder and one year for possession of jamming devices.

Effectively both Mkhize and Manzini were sentenced to life plus 66 years imprisonment. Ranyao when apprehended will face the same charges.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Matakata has asserted that the Hawks with the assistance of other law enforcement agencies will unleash all resources to apprehend the two remaining dangerous suspects.

“We will release their photographs soon hopefully with the assistance of our communities we will close this chapter.  We cannot allow any individuals to compromise the peace and security of our people. Our dedication, our commitment, and our resolve to solving these serious crimes is absolute,” she concluded.