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AGE OF THE ASSASSIN

Schoolgirl killed, cop murdered in wild week of Western Cape shootings

Schoolgirl killed, cop murdered in wild week of Western Cape shootings
A schoolgirl died after being struck by a round during a gang shooting in the Cape Town suburb of Athlone. (Photo: Supplied)

Several fatal shootings were reported around Cape Town over a week. In one incident a pupil was murdered when a bullet from a gang fight hit her while she was standing at the gates of a high school. Police also came under fire in other incidents.

Days after a police officer was murdered while responding to a crime complaint in the Western Cape, a constable has been wounded in another attack.

The shootings are among several in and around Cape Town over a week.

Aside from the South African Police Service (SAPS) officer, among those also murdered is a high school pupil caught in gang crossfire.

In Khayelitsha last week, eight people were killed in a string of violent incidents over just a few hours.

This comes after police last month indicated they had increased operations to crack down on violence around Cape Town.

The latest incident in which a cop has been attacked comes two days after Police Minister Bheki Cele met residents in Gugulethu at the weekend.

That meeting, according to an official police invitation, was to “focus on addressing serious and violent crimes impacting this community”.

But the bloodshed has persisted in other parts of Cape Town.

Constable wounded

Among the latest incidents, Western Cape police announced that on Monday, 22 April 2024, a constable was wounded shortly after midnight.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Andrè Traut said two constables based at the police station in the Cape Town suburb of Kensington had approached three individuals in the Ysterplaat area.

They had planned to question the trio.

Traut said that as the constables had approached them, one began running.

“This suspect then fired shots in the direction of the police officers and wounded a 34-year-old constable,” Traut said.

“[The wounded constable] was admitted to a local hospital in a serious condition.”

Traut said two of the suspects, a 21-year-old and another aged 26, were detained for questioning.

The third was yet to be arrested.

Traut said Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile “activated all available resources to track down the suspect responsible for pulling the trigger so that he can answer in a court of law”.

‘Scant regard for lives’

Just three days before the constable was wounded, a 16-year-old girl and a 20-year-old man were killed on Friday, 19 April.

The girl, who was struck by a round from a nearby gang fight, has been named as Zamawushe Momoti.

Last week Traut, without identifying Zamawushe, said she had been standing at the gates of Belgravia High School in the Cape Town suburb of Athlone.

“With scant regard for the lives of others, rival gangs fired several shots randomly at around 12:30, killing a 20-year-old man in Canal Road, Athlone,” Traut said.

“[Zamawushe Momoti] was caught in the crossfire and sustained a fatal gunshot wound.”

Later that afternoon a suspect, who faces charges including two of murder, was arrested in connection with the shooting.

Murdered policeman

Two days before the school shooting, on 17 April 2024, police officer Sergeant Adrian Mahoney was murdered while on duty in Mamre along the West Coast.

He was killed with his police firearm.

Western Cape police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said Mahoney and his work partner had responded to a domestic violence complaint.

While at the scene, the suspect got into a scuffle with Mahoney and “took the service pistol of the … police official and fatally shot him.”

The suspect managed to flee and was later shot dead.

On the day of Mahoney’s murder, police officers in another part of the Western Cape had their hands full.

8 killed in one morning

khayelitsha western cape

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

Eight people were also shot dead in a series of incidents in Khayelitsha on the morning of 17 April 2024.

Daily Maverick reported that those killed may have themselves been involved in crime.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Morning of murders — eight people shot dead in Khayelitsha

Police were investigating the motive behind the attacks.

The shootings reported over a week are underpinned by other violence.

Thirty-three killed in 24 hours

Daily Maverick recently reported on how 33 people were murdered – most either stabbed or shot – over about 24 hours in the Western Cape from around 5am on 31 March to roughly the same time the next day.

Various issues, including gangsterism, are driving the crimes.

Last month Western Cape police announced that they had increased operations to clamp down on surging violence.

“In light of recent shooting incidents that occurred on some parts of the Cape Flats, Western Cape police have bolstered deployments at identified hotspots,” the statement said.

“The intervention follows incidents where murder and attempted murders cases registered, indicate a spike in shooting incidents that saw a significant number of individuals shot in Mitchells Plain, Bishop Lavis, Philippi, Ravensmead and Elsies River.” DM

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