Traffic officer, friends shot while watching soccer, firearm stolen

2019-03-11 16:45
Sifiso Gwala ... ‘very friendly. He did not hold any grudges’.

Sifiso Gwala ... ‘very friendly. He did not hold any grudges’.

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A senior traffic officer in the Msunduzi Municipality and two of his friends were gunned down at his home in Imbali Unit 2 on Saturday night. 

Another friend, Mfundo Mtshali, who was also shot, survived the attack.

The officer, Sifiso Tsoro Gwala, and his friends Nathi Zondi, Nhlanhla Zibula and Mtshali were watching Kaizer Chiefs playing Maritzburg United on television when several gunshots rang out. Gwala’s daughter Thandeka said the shootings took place at about 9 pm in an outbuilding.

Her mother Zanele was alone in the main house while her father and his friends were socialising and watching television in the outbuilding. The men often got together in the evenings, she added.

Thandeka and her brother were out visiting a relative at the time.

She said her mother heard gunshots and when there was silence she went outside to investigate. To her horror, when she peeked inside the outbuilding, she saw her husband and his friends lying on the floor bleeding.

Her mother contacted her and told her to phone the police. “We [she and her brother] immediately took a cab and went back home,” she said.

At the time of the shooting the gate was locked, and the property is surrounded by a high brick wall. However, footprints on the ground near one spot where the wall is lower may indicate where the gunmen climbed over the wall to get into the property.

She said there appeared to be nothing stolen, except her father’s firearm.

Throughout Sunday family and friends streamed to the house in large numbers to convey their sympathies and condolences.

A friend and colleague of Gwala’s, Sibonelo Ngubeni, said that Gwala was also a shop steward. “He was very friendly. Whenever there was a misunderstanding, he would sort it out. He did not hold any grudges and always came to a solution,” he said.

Ngubeni said that he was contacted at about midnight and told there had been a shooting at Gwala’s home.

He rushed over to find the house teeming with police officers.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the municipality was shocked and saddened by Gwala’s murder.

“We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

Mafumbatha said Gwala was a dedicated officer and “we hope the suspects are arrested soon”.

Ward councillor Siphiwe Ndawonde said “We are not sure of the motive, political or whatever.

“We had an ANC meeting on Wednesday to prepare for the elections. Nothing gave us an indication that this is going to happen,” he said.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane confirmed Gwala’s firearm was stolen.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder

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