Eyewitness claims Alexandra police opened fire on suspects after they had surrendered, killing bystander

2020-01-17 17:11
Samanttha Mathane-Radebe, 29, killed during a shootout between cops and hijackers.

Samanttha Mathane-Radebe, 29, killed during a shootout between cops and hijackers. (Supplied)

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Samantha Mathane-Radebe was only married for a month when she was struck by a bullet on Wednesday.

Mathane-Radebe, 29, had just returned from work when she was caught in the crossfire between the police and alleged hijackers.

She died just a few metres from her home.

The suspects had allegedly hijacked an Audi at a Gautrain station earlier in the morning, according to the police.

Police spokesperson Captain Stephen Malatji said the suspects had shot at the police who returned fire.

In the process, Mathane-Radebe and another man were shot. She died on the scene, while the man, who was critically wounded, was taken to hospital.

Malatji said one of the alleged hijackers was arrested and a firearm was recovered from the scene.

Shot in the back

Mathane-Radebe's aunt, Melita Hlatswayo, however, does not believe there was a shootout between the suspects and police.

Instead, she said, she was told the police had randomly opened fire on the suspects who had allegedly surrendered.

"They missed the suspects and shot my child who had taken cover behind a steel pole."

Hlatswayo said she heard four gunshots oblivious her niece had been hit.

"I ran to the scene and saw my child lying on the ground. She had been shot in the back and the bullet exited through her chest."

READ: Alexandra residents call on police to arrest officer after bystander killed during shootout with hijackers

She claimed the police had not recovered a firearm from one of the suspected hijackers as claimed by Malatji. 

"The police chased me away and I suspect they are hiding something from us. One of the officers covered her face with a balaclava and was identified as the one who allegedly shot and killed my child." 

Hlatswayo described Mathane-Radebe as a sweet and reserved person who loved her two children, aged one and six.

"She was excited to come back home and seeing her six-year-old son wearing his school uniform. Unfortunately, Alexandra police stole that from her. She is gone forever and will not see her children going to school.

"They have robbed my child of the chance to raise her children and see them getting married as she did," Hlatswayo said.

She added she had left everything in God's hands to deal with the police officer whose identity is known to News24.


An eyewitness, who took cover with a friend and Mathane-Radebe when the bullets started flying, said he saw the police stopping the Audi.

"They stopped the Audi, three occupants jumped out and surrendered but the police opened fire on them without provocation. They had lifted their hands in the air, surrendering.

"We hid behind a steel pole at a nearby shop."

A bullet struck Mathane-Radebe and she fell, "I then ran home," he said.

On Thursday, residents of Alexandra marched to the police station demanding the officer allegedly involved in the shooting be arrested.

Meanwhile, Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) spokesperson Sontaga Seisa said it was investigating the case.

Seisa said IPID had taken both the policeman and suspect's firearms for forensic tests to determine which one killed Mathane-Radebe and injured the other person.

Read more on:    saps  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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