All in a day’s work for detective

Sergeant Bheki Masangwana.

Cape Town Central police detective Sergeant Bheki Masangwana said it was the highlight of his 13-year long career in the police when a robber he arrested for a case last year received a sentence of 12 years.

Thando Loliwe, 28, was arrested for robbery with a dangerous weapon after he stabbed a woman twice and stole her cellphone and R140.

Sergeant Masangwana said he was called to the scene in February last year where the railway police witnessed the incident.

The woman was on her way to work when Loliwe approached her just outside Cape Town Railway Station, stabbed her in her breast and her lip, then robbed her.

He had been caught by the railway police and the weapon, an Okapi knife, was also found.

“The woman had sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital for further treatment. She only opened a case after she was able to speak to the police. She was critically ill.”

He said Loliwe did not want to plead guilty and lied about his involvement. “I opposed bail because I believed it was him that stabbed the woman, but he refused to admit it. It went to trial, and he was found guilty in the end.”

Loliwe had previous convictions, but none for robbery.

“It seems he was an amateur robber. He had convictions, including possession of drugs and stolen property.”

Sergeant Masangwana said one of the most difficult parts of solving the case was the fact that the victim did not want to testify. “She was scared to face the man who attacked her. I told her that it was a serious crime and she nearly died, and that he shouldn’t be allowed out onto the street again because he could do it to another person. Eventually she gave in and testified.

“It was also hard to get other witnesses to trial because of their work schedules, but we made it through.”

He said while it must have been one of the longest sentence a robber had received, he was not surprised because of the nature of the crime. “The woman’s injuries were critical. It was almost attempted murder.”

Sergeant Masangwana grew up in the Eastern Cape.

He studied marketing then came to Cape Town to find work. Being a man of few words, he found marketing too chattery for him, and decided he wanted
to serve in the South African police. He then went to the SAPS Academy, with his year’s intake being only for detectives.

“I wanted to become a detective to protect the people in my country by putting away the criminals.”

Sergeant Masangwana now lives in Mitchell’s Plain.

At Cape Town Central SAPS, he works with serious and violent crimes, including robbery with weapons, murder, and house robbery, to name a few.

He said robberies were one of the priority crimes for Cape Town Central police, as the number of cases has been ever increasing.

He urged people to have faith in the police and the justice system, and to keep reporting cases so that criminals can be put away.

Sergeant Masangwana was also the recipient of the a voucher and a certificate of recognition by the community police forum (CPF) earlier this month, where he was recognised for the arrest of seven suspects in two separate cases of robbery – one of a skateboard in Zonnebloem, and robbery of a cellphone on the Grand Parade.

The CPF also nominated Delmaine Abrahams from ADT security and Michelle Perrins, a neighbourhood watch member, for dedication to the safety of their communities (“Robberies in city centre a concern for police”, CapeTowner, May 8).