The off-duty Pietermaritzburg Public Order police constable, who was killed during an alleged road rage altercation, was shot nine times, reports TimesLIVE.

This emerged in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday when Asad Ramjan, arrested in connection with the death of Thabani Gwala (35), applied for bail.

Ramjan, an employee at a gun company, was arrested at the scene of the shooting in Oribi Road, Bisley on 13 November.

State prosecutor Ryan Peo submitted an affidavit by investigating officer Warrant Officer Jurgen Rencken who detailed the events that led to the shooting.

According to Rencken, Ramjan had flashed his car lights at Gwala who was driving home after his shift on Oribi road. Gwala was driving in front of Ramjan. Ramjan overtook Gwala, who then overtook Ramjan and stopped his vehicle.

It is alleged Ramjan disembarked from his car with a retractable baton and firearm. 

Rencken said the two parties got into an argument and Gwala pointed his firearm at the applicant and disarmed him of the retractable iron baton and hit him above the right eye.

‘The accused then drew his firearm and shot the deceased several times. There is a state witness who will testify he heard an argument and witnessed a fight between two men and heard gunshots,’ he said.

The police officer’s firearm was found next to his body. 

Post-mortem findings revealed there were nine exit wounds on Gwala’s body.

Advocate Joseph Wolmarans, who represented Ramjan, said continued detention would expose his client to health risks and would prejudice free access to legal representation. He said his client would plead not guilty to the charges.

The court heard the gun shop salesperson took home a R7 000 salary and had left school in grade nine. He has been living with his sister and extended relatives for the past 10 years, reports TimesLIVE. He did not have any pending cases or a criminal record and did not possess a passport.

But the state objected to Ramjan being granted bail.

‘There is a strong likelihood the accused would endanger the lives of the public and interfere with the witnesses,’ said Peo.

He said in the aftermath community members in the suburb had been vocal in assisting the police.

‘There is an outcry about the number of police officers killed in the country,’ Peo said in reference to a protest outside court by members of the Police, Prisons & Civil Rights Union.

However, Wolmarans said while he conceded too many police officers were being killed, it was worth noting some officers were on the wrong side of the law.

‘There are many cases of murder, assault and suicides,’ he told the court.

Full TimesLIVE report