WATCH: Widower of Westbury woman hopes her death will not be in vain

The widower of the woman who died after being caught in a crossfire in Westbury last week has said he hopes his wife's death will not be in vain. 

Reuben Petersen was speaking on Tuesday during a visit by Police Minister Bheki Cele to the protest-ridden Johannesburg suburb. 

"People will not know how I feel and I don't think people want to know how I feel. But all I can say is, don't let another family go through this.

"I hope this can be the last, that is my prayer," he said. 

Among those who accompanied Cele to the Petersen home were National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole, Johannesburg mayoral committee member (MMC) for finance Funzela Ngobeni, MMC for safety Michael Sun, community safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and member of the Gauteng legislature Lindiwe Lasindwa.

The delegation offered condolences and pledged the government's support as the family prepared for the burial.

Petersen said losing his wife was painful, especially because he was now left with the responsibility of taking care of their 4-year-old daughter. 

"She's got to go through life with her sisters, brothers and myself and that's the thing that gets me the most. Four years old with no mother. On Saturday when we have to put the mother into the grave, what do I say to this child?" he said.

Petersen said the community was now living in fear. 

"For us to live in fear, for our children not to be able to go to school or come from school, and to go through things like this is not a nice feeling," he said.
 
Heather Petersen, 45, died after she was shot in the upper chest when three men opened fire on each other. A 10-year-old girl, believed to be her niece, was wounded in the incident.

Petersen said the girl was fine although she was still traumatised following the incident.  

"She's okay physically. Mentally she's not all that good, but otherwise she's healthy and everything," he added. 

Cele said the job of the police and government as a whole was not only to convey condolences to the family but to also provide answers about what happened.

"Condolences will be much better felt by yourselves when we answer the question of what happened and why," he said.  

Cele assured Petersen that police visibility would be increased to ensure that gangsterism in the area comes to an end. 

He also promised the widower that the police would also be working hard to ensure that such an incident never happened again in the area. 

"For now, condolences to your family, friends and community at large and let's say if this can be the last one, your wife will sleep peacefully knowing that at least she contributed to the peaceful era of this community," he said. 

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