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Mass shooting in Khayelitsha leaves four dead, five injured

Mass shooting in Khayelitsha leaves four dead, five injured
(Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

Quick police action led to the arrest of suspects after a mass shooting in Khayelitsha at the weekend.

Police spokesperson Colonel André Traut confirmed a shooting on Sunday, 26 March at about 12 am involving nine people at Y Block in Site B, Khayelitsha.  

Four men aged between 33 and 42 were shot and killed while travelling in a bakkie in Y Block in what police believe was a retaliation attack after accusations of a hijacking in the area.

“During the incident, five other males aged between 23 and 39 were shot and wounded and admitted to the hospital for treatment,” Traut said.

This is the same area where gunmen wounded five people the day after Police Minister Bheki Cele’s anti-crime imbizo in Khayelitsha in September last year.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Khayelitsha businesses push back against rampant crime and ‘protection’ rackets as criminals rule the roost 

According to residents, one of the deceased owned a tavern in the area and was transporting workers home when they were ambushed.  

“The shooters opened fire in the direction of the bakkie,” said a resident who spoke anonymously. “There were bodies inside the bakkie and others were lying on the street.”  

An integrated operation by various police units during the early hours of Monday, led by detectives of the provincial Serious and Violent Crimes Unit, resulted in the arrest of two suspects. Three firearms were recovered.

“SAPS initiated an intensive investigation and conducted an operation in the area, which led to the arrest of the two suspects,” said Traut. “While the circumstances surrounding the matter are still under investigation, our detectives are in pursuit of more suspects who were possibly involved…”  

He said one of those injured during the mass shooting was arrested in a hospital in connection with a hijacking case.

Once charged, the detained suspects are expected to appear in Khayelitsha where two will face four charges of murder and five charges of attempted murder and the possession of unlicenced firearms. The third suspect will face a charge of vehicle hijacking.

The recent quarterly crime statistics for Khayelitsha showed a decrease in mass shootings of 11.11%. Police statistics also show that between April and June last year, 90 people were killed in multiple-victim murders in the province, with 37 dockets opened. 

‘A serious setback’ 

Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson Ndithini Tyhido said the latest mass shooting was a serious setback for the community. 

“In the last quarter, mass shootings decreased even though there was not much difference in the murder rate. It is saddening to again see the emergence of these shootings. We are also encouraging the police to intensify their work to stamp out the mass killings.”

He asked the community to come forward if they had any information that might assist the police, even though, “We are aware that it is not easy for community members to volunteer and offer information because they are worried about their own safety. There is a feeling that some police officers are in cahoots with the criminals.”

Western Cape Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson Fransina Lukas expressed shock at the shooting.

“Police visibility will be maintained in the area because we did meet with the police top brass. There are hotspots within the community that must be adequately covered and suspects must be brought to book to get rid of the perception that people can do this and get away with it.” DM

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