South Africa


Slaying of generous Soweto doctor George Koboka ‘was a hitjob’, claims brother

Slaying of generous Soweto doctor George Koboka ‘was a hitjob’, claims brother
Thami Koboka, younger brother to slain Soweto doctor George Koboka. (Photo: Denvor de Wee)

Dr George Koboka’s family said he survived three previous robberies at his Diepkloof, Soweto, surgery before he was murdered last week.

The last time Dr George Koboka was attacked by robbers at his practice in Diepkloof, Soweto, was 16 March. Before that attack, during which Koboka’s patients were robbed of their valuables and cash, robbers had struck twice before the Covid-19 pandemic, said Koboka’s younger brother, Thami.

Describing the two pre-pandemic robberies, Thami said the robbers struck when Koboka was about to close.

“They would have noticed that many of his patients have left the practice,” he said.

He said the robbers got away with cash but not without a fight from the doctor. “He was brave and would fight back.”  

He said that after these two robberies, cases were opened at the Diepkloof Police Station and suspects were arrested, but no one was ever prosecuted, because, the police said, there was insufficient evidence.

Dr George Koboka’s friend Ishmael ‘Kallis’ Mahlangu walks past the murdered doctor’s surgery strewn with flowers and notes from mourners on 31 March 2022. (Photo: Denvor de Wee)

Flowers laid by mourners at the entrance to slain Soweto doctor George Koboka’s surgery on 31 March 2022. (Photo: Denvor de Wee)

Gauteng police spokesperson Colonel Dimakatso Sello told Daily Maverick that a 32-year-old suspect, Morris Nkosikhona Gumbi, had been arrested for the 16 March robbery and appeared in court on 28 March. Sello said another suspect’s case was not put on the court roll due to lack of evidence and the suspect was released.

“Both recent cases are still under investigation as police are still following leads,” said Sello.

Koboka, a much-loved general practitioner, was fatally shot on Friday, 25 March after a group of armed men stormed his practice. Speaking from his brother’s home in Mulberton, Thami said he believed Koboka’s killing was a hit.

“I personally don’t think this is what people think it is. It’s not a robbery. I think it’s a hit, especially because there have been different incidents of robberies that have taken place at the practice, but this time he was shot and nothing was taken,” he said.

“People just came straight on a mission this time,” said Thami.

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Koboka was described by neighbours and community members in Soweto as an extravagantly generous and noble soul.

“He was enormously selfless. He was always available to assist the family, neighbours and the community and many different social organisations he supported,” Thami said.

“He was indiscriminately helpful. He always went the extra mile to ensure that in his presence everyone felt at home. He took special care of the elderly and provided free fruits at his practice,” said Koboka’s friend, Ishmael “Kallis” Mahlangu (83).

“He was the type of person that would not shy away from assisting everyone who needed his help, even financially. This is not just a loss to the family, but the entire community of Soweto. 

“I have no words to describe the pain. I am really battling to come to terms with why he was killed and the loss,” said Mahlangu.

Dr George Koboka’s surgery on 31 March 2022. (Photo: Denvor de Wee)

A picture of slain Soweto doctor George Koboka taken from the entrance to the surgery on 31 March 2022. (Photo: Denvor de Wee)

During Daily Maverick’s visit to Koboka’s practice on Thursday, a young boy gazed at the structure from across the road. 

“The doctor was very helpful,” he said as he walked past.

Miyelani Mpenyisi (31) said: “Last year he cured my five-year-old son of a bad flu and told me to pay him when I find the money. When I did, I paid him back.  

“Even when there is a sick patient at night, if you called him, he would come to your house. He would cure the elderly and tell them to pay when they have money.”  

Mpenyisi recalled finding the doctor after he’d been shot. “When I and a group of community members walked into his consulting room, we found him slumped over behind the door in a pool of blood.”

Thami Dube (60) said: “This is not just a loss to the family but to all of us. I couldn’t go to him when I’m sick because I felt he has done more than enough for me. 

“He was unbelievably generous and genuinely cared. I’m shattered.”  

Dube and four other families stay in Koboka’s yard at the practice for free. “We used to pay him R200 for electricity but he just told us he would take care of everything,” said Dube. 

Dube said he was welcomed by Koboka when he came to him looking for a place to stay. 

“I’m overwhelmed with grief,” he said.

Dr Musa George Koboka was born on 29 November 1965 in Zondi, Soweto. His father was a visual artist and his mother was a clothing designer. Family members said he inherited the community spirit from his mother, who as a clothing designer endeared herself to the community. He had been a member of the South African Medical Association since 1998. 

Koboka is survived by 12 children, the youngest of whom is nine years old. 

On Thursday the practice was quiet. There was no sign of the mourners who had strewn flowers and notes at the entrance to the practice. Pictures of Koboka were displayed on either side of the entrance.   

Koboka will be buried on Friday at Nasrec. DM


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