WATCH | Melville attack: 'Gunmen were out to do harm', says victim as he recalls Poppy's shooting

2020-01-03 16:40
A mourner lays a candle down for those gunned down in the Melville shooting.

A mourner lays a candle down for those gunned down in the Melville shooting. (Azarrah Karrim)

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Victims of the shooting at Poppy's restaurant in Melville early on New Year's morning have praised the staff of Helen Joseph Hospital where they are recovering.

Two women were killed in the attack and six people were injured.

Acting Premier Panyaza Lesufi and MEC for Community Safety Faith Mazibuko visited the survivors in hospital on Friday.

Among them was Petunia Roets, who was shot in the pelvis while inside Poppy's with her friends. She said she lost some sensation in her legs but was undergoing physiotherapy.

Shifting uncomfortably in her bed and wincing in pain, she extended her appreciation to the hospital staff.

'They were very helpful'

"I must congratulate the staff of Helen Joseph. They were very helpful – from surgery, to orthopaedic to the nurses. Everyone that accepted me from 1st January when I came into casualty, up to being admitted," Roets said.

"I congratulate Helen Joseph staff even though I know people are working on skeleton staff. People are doing their utmost best," she said.

She recalled what happened.

"We were in the restaurant and we saw people falling. When we looked, I just felt this hard blow to my pelvic area and I said: 'I've been shot,'" Roets said.

"I'm fine now. I'm much better than I was when I came to Helen Joseph."

Mortimer Williams was asked to do a music set at the restaurant and after his gig, he went outside to wish some friends.

Recounting his ordeal, Williams said he was shot in the pelvis when he heard what sounded like fireworks.

"Everyone is still trying to make sense of what was happening," Williams said.

"It has absolutely nothing to do with the establishment of Poppy's. None of the patrons knew what occurred… nobody saw an altercation anywhere.

"It was just something random. These guys were just out to do harm," he said.

Williams also spoke highly of the hospital staff and sent his condolences to the families who lost loved ones.

"Before the shots rang out, I spoke to those ladies and we had a bit of a laugh," Williams said.

He added: "I don't think anyone has had a chance to deal with their emotions because I think it's still so fresh".

Briefing the media on the visit, Lesufi said the department would support the victims in whichever way they could.

"This matter is still bringing trauma to all [the victims] and the department has committed itself to provide all the relevant support to them," Lesufi said.

He added that four patients were still in hospital but the condition of one victim, who was shot in the head, is "very critical".

Another patient was discharged.

Lesufi condemned the attacks, saying such incidents put hospitals under pressure.

"We are in a serious situation and we need to confront this as a society. We can't have these violent activities where people shoot each other, stab each other and fight. It's a huge burden to resources of the hospital," he said.

Lesufi said the police would make a breakthrough soon.

Read more on:    panyaza lesufi  |  johannesburg  |  crime
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