Instead of preparing for his graduation ceremony in two weeks time, a police student constable now faces charges of murder and armed robbery.
On Saturday, 24 November, just after closing time, five armed suspects stormed into a dairy in Olieboom Road, Philippi. "They apparently ordered the staff to lie face down on the floor. They robbed them of cash, cellular phones and a set of keys," said Inspector Bernadine Steyn, police spokesperson.
Something apparently went wrong; a single shot was fired, hitting a staff member in the chest.
Nazier Chiktay (46) later died shortly before reaching a nearby hospital. Chiktay, who has two children, lived in Wynberg, but managed the business in Philippi.
A breakthrough came last week when witnesses identified Zaman Lili, a 24-year-old student constable, as a suspect. He was arrested at the Philippi Police Training Institution on Thursday, 29 November.
He appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court yesterday morning. His bail application was postponed to Friday, 18 January.
While the other four suspects are still at large, Lili will spend Christmas behind bars.
This is not the first time police officers have been implicated in serious criminal offences this year.
In August, Inspector Andries Davids (38) of the Philippi Police Station was arrested in connection with an armed robbery incident in Darries Street, Strand.
Student constable Alven Follentine (23), stationed at the Manenberg Police Station, was also arrested in August for defeating the ends of justice. He allegedly gave a man 16 rounds of police ammunition.
"We encourage people who know of corruption to report it and make a statement. We need the community's help to rid the police of the criminal elements," said Inspector Ettienne Conradie of Philippi Police Station.
Director Selby Bokaba of the national South African Police Service (SAPS) office, said all the reported incidents are quite sad.
"Police don't corrupt themselves; they are corrupted by society," Bokaba said.
He said before candidates are admitted for training, they are subjected to two psychometric tests: The first tests cognitive and comprehension function while the second tests personality and suitability to become a police officer.
It is possible, said Bokaba, for candidates to lie during the tests and hide their unsuitability.
He said that while there are corrupt individuals doing a disservice to police work, as soon as they are caught out, firm action is taken against them. "In this case, the student constable would have to be suspended without pay," Bokaba said.