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Morning of murders — eight people shot dead in Khayelitsha

Morning of murders — eight people shot dead in Khayelitsha
The scene where four of eight people were gunned down in Khayelitsha on 17 April 2024 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

Eight people were found shot dead in three locations in Harare in Khayelitsha on Wednesday morning, 17 April 2024. Police believe the shootings are related. While residents say the deceased had been terrorising the community, the mothers of three of them are mourning their loss.

Eight people were shot dead in three incidents in the sprawling Cape Town township of Khayelitsha in the early hours of Wednesday morning. 

At the biggest of the crime scenes in Harare, the bodies of five people (four men and one woman) were found with gunshot wounds in Ncumu Street. 

The residents of Harare say they have long suffered under the tyranny of a notorious group of suspected criminals, who had left a trail of devastation and fear. On Wednesday morning, however, it seems their reign of terror finally caught up with them.

Police spokesperson Colonel André Traut said preliminary investigations into the multiple murders led detectives to believe that two of the shooting incidents that preceded the one in Ncumu Street could be linked. 

“At around 2.50am, an adult male and his adult girlfriend were shot and killed in Feza Street, Harare and, shortly after that, a 35-year-old male was shot and killed not far from the first scene.

“Three hours later, the murders in Ncumu Street were committed, possibly by the same suspects.” 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Cape Town housing beneficiaries despair as violent extortionists delay projects

The killings happened days after Police Minister Bheki Cele visited Hanover Park in Cape Town to host a crime prevention imbizo on Sunday. 

The meeting focused on addressing serious and violent crimes affecting the community and explored ways for the residents to work more closely with law enforcement to improve the police’s response time.

Daily Maverick understands about 10 to 12 murders are reported in the Western Cape every 24 hours. That number sometimes increases over weekends.

However, official police crime statistics are only released quarterly.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘94 murders in 3 days’ — Western Cape ‘war zone’ killings exceed European country’s annual fatal shootings

A body lies in the road at a crime scene in Khayelitsha on 17 April 2024 in Cape Town, South Africa. The police are still investigating the matter and no arrests have been made yet. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

Harare scene

When Daily Maverick arrived on the scene in Harare, the body of Yibanathi Ncwanya (30) was lying on a footpath, covered with a white sheet. It appeared that he had been running away from his shooter. 

His body was found near KwaMfundo High School, where learners were peeking through their classroom windows, trying to make sense of what was happening just beyond their school fence. 

A few metres away from where Ncwanya’s body was found stood a shack that residents said used to be a church but had been taken over by suspected criminals. Inside the shack, four more bodies with gunshot wounds were discovered. 

Local councillor Anele Gabuza said he knew some of the deceased; he claimed that they had been terrorising the community. His double-storey office was just a stone’s throw away from the scene. 

“They would sometimes rob people of their cellphones and steal in the community,” he said. “I suspect this was a gang-related shooting or they were shot by someone they robbed. They were part and parcel of crime.” 

He pleaded with the community to work with law enforcement agencies to combat crime. 

As dawn broke over the township on Wednesday, residents said they felt a sense of relief. 

A man, who gave his name only as Zuko, said for the first time in years, he would be able to walk the streets without fear, knowing that the people who were terrorising them were dead. 

“That shack used to be our church,” Zuko said. “They chased us out and started using the place as their own. 

“Death is not celebrated, but there is a sense of relief now. One of them was shot in the hip a few weeks back and has been in and out of jail, but that did not stop him from doing criminal activities,” he said. 

Families mourn

Phumla Nkomane lost her two sons Nceba (41) and Collen (38) in the shooting. She said she heard from her sister about the incident. 

“This is painful,” she said. “They were recovering drug addicts and worked at a car wash. This is painful to me.” 

Yibanathi Ncanywa’s mother, Nolubabalo, said she did not know her son was a criminal. 

“All I know is that he was smoking [drugs], but he always denied it. At home, he was a sweet child. I don’t know what to say about him, really, but this feels like a nightmare. I wish to wake up from it.”

Reagen Allen, the Western Cape MEC of police oversight and community safety, said the multiple murders were horrific and showed the little regard criminals had for life. 

“It is wholly unacceptable, and I urge those with information to make it available to law enforcement agencies so that the perpetrators can be arrested and convicted. The moment communities get wind of any criminal plans, they should inform law enforcement so that it can be prevented.” 

Traut said the motive for the attack was not yet known and appealed to the public for help. “Any person with information is kindly requested to contact Colonel Mthetho Maxabaniso on 082 339 7320 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111. The mobile application MySAPS can also be used anonymously.” 

He said police would make more information available as the investigation unfolded. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

    This ain’t funny anymore.

  • Andre Louw says:

    When Bheki Cele’s incompetent crime fighters fail to apprehend and the NPA fails to convict these thugs, the citizens will do it for them. Just another example of private enterprise taking over from the incompetent state. The ANC has done more for privatising state institutions than their Marxist founders would be happy to admit. Transport, Postal service Power generation. Security, Health Care, Education name it and it will be privatised. Sadly those who can not afford it suffer the most.

    • Geoff Coles says:

      An interesting perspective, true too

    • Jeff Robinson says:

      I always had to stifle a laugh when the old-time Nats warned of the “rooi gevaar”. In the old SA, nearly everything was under state control as per the Soviet Union. Indeed, one the first thing the ANC did was to get rid of the financial rand. What needs to be realized is that the problem underpinning all the world’s woes is not one of systems, rather the ubiquitous predisposition called GREED.

  • District Six says:

    “At home, he was a sweet child.”
    Yeah, right, said every parent ever whose entitled ‘child’ runs amok in public.

  • District Six says:

    “The WC is the best province by far that is working and providing state services,” said every DA hack.
    Except if you live on the Cape Flats.
    “Oh, but that’s a national government competency.”
    Louder for the people at the back: Except if you live on the Cape Flats.

    • H M says:

      True our black and coloured people are dying, but the DA will again say this is managed by national government

    • Preferred Anonymity says:

      The municipality doesn’t send staff into areas where the municipal staff are attacked. They keep trying every few weeks, but when staff and their security get gunned down or robbed, they don’t go back in for a while. What level of government is responsible for policing? The WC government have begged Bheki to deploy more cops to the Cape Flats

    • Norman Sander says:

      WC government has asked to manage their own police force and have been denied. So, solving criminal gangs is in fact the central govts problem. The crime is that central govt does nothing about it.
      Check where the blame lies before accusing a WC govt, who are also just in fact victims of central govt.

    • Andre Tait says:

      almost half a million extra people have come to Cape Town over the last 3 years. How is any Government supposed to keep up services like this. Where I live the streets a full of people sitting. mostly from outside south africa. Tents and shacks are popping up everywhere. not one or 2. hundreds at a time. Unless we fix the whole country at the same time and get proper borders we are all screwed. DA or whomever your favourite party is cant run a place like this. And the jails let them out again. AND the communities protect the gangsters and criminals.

    • Random Comment says:

      Louder for the people at the back: EVEN if you live on the Cape Flats.

      What else could explain massive and ongoing in-migration? People vote with their feet, not their keyboards.

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      Weak attempt there. SAPS IS a national government competence that the ANC will not allow to be devolved which is why that windbag in a silly hat was jus there running a hot air imbizo. The DA government has zero control over the funding, allocation of resource or operational management of SAPS. Areas are run by murderous gangsters because SAPS does nothing to prevent it and that dear friend is on the ANC.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    Vigilante acts will increase the less effective the police become,what say thee Bheki?

  • Deon Schoeman says:

    Its seems like everyone is concerned except for those communities where community members kill each other ….

  • David van der Want says:

    This and thousands of other tragedies are the daily stories of people’s lives and are the result of state failure.

  • Seretse Moche says:

    Sad and dangerous to say the least. If only there was enough job opportunities for the youth. Politicians should stop with their lies and start coming up with proper strategy to alleviate poverty.

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    Crime is completely out of control in SA and needs someone with ability to stop it. Bheki Cele is not that person. We need a complete overhaul of the system, including life in prison (no parole, you actually die there) for anyone involved in gang-related activities, for anyone using a gun to commit crime, for the construction mafia bosses, for the sabotage kingpins (and hell, even the foot soldiers), and for anyone else convicted of serious, violent crime. We also need those accused (with strong evidence) of large-scale fraud and corruption to be refused bail so as to deter them from these infernal Stalingrad tactics. I’d also go as far as to say that lawyers who engage in this kind of thing should be debarred.

  • Norman Sander says:

    In the absence of proper law enforcement, the people will take over and practise “jungle justice” or if you like “vigilantism”.
    It was a very useful tool in taming the American West where law and order was absent in the towns and farming communities.
    I am not surprised this is happening in SA. People are gatvol and taking justice into their own hands.

  • Sarel Lotz says:

    If the police don’t do their jobs, the community will do it, it seems.

  • Lisbeth Scalabrini says:

    The details: The UK government has warned British travellers that SA is not a desirable country to visit due to crime, load shedding, kidnappings, and the rise in attacks on tourists.

    However: Pretoria says it is waiting for the foreign office to provide proof for these “unfounded” claims.”

  • Rianna Wentzel says:

    I have read that “Police Minister, Bheki Cele, is hopeful that more women would join South African Police Service. Speaking at a passing out parade in Mthatha on Tuesday, Cele said of the 249 officers at the ceremony, only 94 were women. (26 Mar 2024”) … probably to stand in the police station kitchens and make KFC for their male counterparts.

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