In addition to charges of murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery and murder, a SA Army infantryman also faces military charges, including being absent without official leave (AWOL) following an alleged shooting spree in the Durban area.
According to an African News Agency report published by Johannesburg daily, The Citizen, rifleman Thembinkosi American Ngcobo of 8 SA infantry Battalion in Upington apparently planned to kill his girlfriend and a two-month-old baby. This emerged last week during a bail hearing at the Ntzuma Magistrates’ Court.
He is alleged to have deserted his post at 8 SAI headquarters and driven to Durban where he allegedly shot his girlfriend’s sister and a friend. The paper reported he then drove off and apparently opened fire on a passing motorist before stopping at Richmond Farm where he is alleged to have robbed his girlfriend’s brother of a mobile phone. Police and their military counterparts, searching for the suspect arrived and a shoot-out followed with one policeman injured and another person wounded.
Ngcobo later handed himself over to police who found he had had a single round left in his service weapon.
The hearing was not concluded and will continue on March 10.
The shootings took place a week before the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) descended on the KwaZulu-Natal harbour city for Armed Forces Week with its Armed Forces Day centrepiece, which this year marked the centenary of the sinking of the SS Mendi in the English Channel. The SANDF said “Armed Forces Day is our opportunity to showcase the pride, patriotism and discipline of all the dedicated service men and women who serve to protect our nation’s people”.