Innocent, but shot dead

2013-10-21 00:00

TWO men who appear to have had no part in a stand-off with security guards hired by the eThekwini Metro, met an untimely death when they were killed in a shooting in Reservoir Hills.

The security company was employed by the city to guard officials who had gone to the area to disconnect illegal electricity cables.

Things turned sour when residents ran into the streets to try and stop the guards from confiscating their wires.

Then apparently, the security guards opened fire, killing Nhlanhla Mkhize (48) and Malizo Sakaza (40s) and wounding seven other residents.

Residents described how there were children present when bullets flew, causing many to run for cover.

Mkhize had been washing his takkies at the communal tap and had just snatched a child from the streets fearing that the toddler would be killed by the bullets. The guards then shot him. He died on his way to hospital.

Sakaza, who lived in Kennedy Road, was on his way to visit a relative when he was shot in the head. The residents said Sakaza was bleeding from his mouth, nose and ears.

Residents flooded to Mkhize’s corrugated iron shack to comfort his partner of 13 years, Busisiwe Khawula.

A woman who had come to pay her condolences, said: “[Mkhize] didn’t even have illegal electricity in his shack. He died for nothing,” she said, as she gazed up the roof, which had no light bulb.

Mkhize was unemployed and relied on piece jobs.

“He’d fix our doors. He was kind and not a violent person,” a neighbour said.

Mkhize’s partner, Khawula, recalled seeing him in the car being rushed to hospital, his head slumped on his shoulder and his eyes closed. “Somehow I knew he wouldn’t make it. It’s like a dream. He was just full of jokes,” she said.

A relative of Sakaza, Mbali Tshabalala, said he was originally from Mzimkhulu but had recently settled in Durban because he was determined to get a job.

“We’re not animals. In SA if you’re on the wrong side of the law all I know is that you’re supposed to be arrested, but nowadays they just kill you.

“My relative only had his backpack with his CVs and ID with him, because he was looking for a job. He wasn’t even carrying any stone. But he died for something he didn’t know,” a distraught Tshabalala said.

Nomcebo Sibiya, whose shack was shot at, had to hide under her bed. Shaken and confused, she called her mother who lives in Jozini to say what she thought were her last goodbyes.

“I was crying and told my mom I was dying because they were going to shoot me.”

She said she does not understand why the guards shot at people because the residents were not armed.

She remembered witnessing her father and her brother being shot at her home in Jozini in 1999.

“I thought I was also going to be killed with a gun like my father and brother,” she said.

Local councillor Themba Mtshali said he will ask for a commission of inquiry to investigate the matter. He also promised residents that the city was in the process of electrifying their shacks.

The security company was not available to comment.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said police were called to the scene and arrested nine suspects for murder and seven for attempted murder.

They will appear at Pinetown Magistrate’s Court today.

Mayor James Nxumalo visited the residents yesterday and called for calm.


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