Bipolar shooter had gun licence renewed

2012-04-30 00:00

IT is not yet clear how the man who took staff hostage at Durban’s Life Westville Hospital on Friday was issued with a firearm licence.

Bongani Shange, who had bipolar disorder, had applied for his licence to be renewed in 2008, said his girlfriend Phindile Thusi.

“Generally, a person who has been diagnosed with any medical condition will not be issued with a licence as they are unfit to possess a firearm,” police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan told The Witness.

However, she said it did happen that individuals are diagnosed with medical conditions after having been issued one.

Jeevan said that if it was brought to the police’s attention that if such a person had been diagnosed with a medical condition, an inquiry would be held to determine whether they would be a danger to themselves or others.

She said that if they were found to be unfit, they would then lose their licence.

Shange’s brother, Sibonelo, said he was not sure when his brother had been diagnosed, but said he had known about the condition the year his firearm licence was renewed.

Shange’s funeral will more than likely take place on Saturday in Hammarsdale, just outside Camperdown.

“I’m not sure of the date at this moment, but it looks like it will take place on Saturday in Hammarsdale,” Sibonelo Shange said.

Police snipers shot dead Bongani Shange, who was a teacher at Wiliwili Primary School in Zwelibomvu, near Pinetown.

The incident followed a five-hour hostage drama at Life Westville Hospital in Durban on Friday.

Four people were wounded when Shange opened fire at random at the hospital.

The MEC for the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department, Sibongiseni Dhlomo and the department head Sibongile Zungu visited one of them, Bongani Buthelezi, at the hospital.

“The injured are in a stable condition and are receiving trauma counselling, debriefing and support,” said hospital manager at Westville Hospital, Abdool Gaffar Amod.

“The hospital management are relieved that the situation has been resolved and the normal operations will resume. The incident is regretted,” he said.

“The emergency plan was activated immediately and the safety of patients, doctors, visitors and staff was paramount throughout the incident.”

The spokesperson for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, Moses Dlamini, told The Witness that an investigation into the shooting had already begun.

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