Nearly two years of devotion to a case of aggravated robbery has seen a Westville SAPS detective secure fifteen year sentences of two accused in the Pinetown court this week.

On an afternoon in the second week of November 2015 a community member was walking home along Roger Sishi Road in Westville. At the time there were several robberies along a particular stretch of that road, targeting mainly domestic workers.

Westville police communications officer, Captain Elizabeth Squires said: “The area by its geography was suited to common and aggravated robbery as it ran alongside a four lane main road and then on the other side was bush into where suspects could flee. On this particular afternoon the complainant was held up by the two accused who produced a knife and demanded his belongings. The complainant began to struggle but was quickly overpowered and the suspects fled.”

“They didn’t get far however as in their hurry both were struck by a motor vehicle as they dashed into the road. One suspect was severely injured and remained lying at the scene while the second managed to get to his feet and attempt to flee. He may have made his escape if it wasn’t for a quick witted minibus taxi driver who had witnessed the incident. He got out of his taxi and pursued the suspect over the M19 freeway, caught him and duly brought him back to the scene,” said Squires.

Quick to respond were Constables Dlamini and Mlungwana of Westville SAPS who placed the suspects under arrest and awaited an ambulance to stabilise them. Detective Constable Philani Dumakude received the case and once charged, successfully secured the denial of bail to both accused. Constable Dumakude also discovered both accused had prior convictions and he was determined to remove them, for a lengthy period, from the community.

Cst Dumakude’s investigation had gone well until he discovered the victim had lost his job, changed phone number and moved away from his home in the nearby township of Cleremont.

This testimony would prove vital in the trial so Cst Dumakude placed all his energy into tracing the complainant. After a long period of dedicated detective work, the complainant was traced to Umzinto on the KZN south coast. Cst Dumakude made it his personal mission to fetch him each day when there was a court appearance and take him home again.

“At the announcement of the guilty verdict and fifteen years sentence to each accused, Westville station commander, Colonel Z Zondi, expressed his pride in the dedication and professionalism Cst Dumakude displayed in bringing the two accused to justice. The detective himself heaped praise on the assistance of the taxi driver and his two colleagues who attended the scene for their excellent testimony. A fine result for a shining example in the SAPS Community,” said Squires.