File picture: Timothy A. Clary
Pretoria – Former Klipgat public order unit policeman, Hyde Mophosho, who fired shots into a group of protesters outside Brits in January 2014, killing three members of the community and injuring two, was on Wednesday sentenced to an effective 20 years imprisonment.
High Court in Pretoria Judge Lettie Molopa-Sethosa gave the accused a severe tongue lashing during sentencing.
She said the policeman who had 25 years of impeccable service with the SAPS, was said to be a devoted member of the force, yet he displayed no loyalty towards the community when he shot at the protesters.
Mophosa earlier pleaded not guilty to three charges of murder, but the court found that he used banned SSG ammunition when he fired shots into a group of Mothutlung residents, near Brits who were protesting about water shortages.
Mike Tshele, Enock Seemela and Oshiah Rahube were killed. Two other protesters were injured.
Mophosa earlier testified that he had no intention to hurt anyone, let alone kill them. He said as far as he was concerned, the shotgun he was using was loaded with rubber bullets.
The about seven policemen, were faced by an angry mob of hundreds of people. They tried to disperse the crowd, but nothing worked. Mophosa said he tried to assist his colleagues in the front line and asked his commander whether he could take the shotgun of the driver of the Nyala police vehicle. He was given permission and he fired without checking whether it was in fact loaded with rubber bullets.
He immediately stopped shooting…