Pietermaritzburg residents warned about hijackings after killing of local gangster

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A file image of police vehicles in Pietermaritzburg.
A file image of police vehicles in Pietermaritzburg.

Following police minister Bheki Cele’s warning to Pietermaritzburg residents about possible reprisals from surviving gangsters after Tuesday’s police operation in which seven people were killed, more details about the threats have come to light.

There is information circulating that because one of Pietermaritzburg gang members, who died in a separate incident in Durban, had hijacked 59 cars during his criminal exploits so 59 cars are to be hijacked and set alight in a ritual to honour him.

Numerous police and security sources said that crime intelligence were aware of the threats and were taking them seriously. They warned that motorists should be careful in the coming days. There is speculation that the funeral will be held over this weekend.

Responding to news of the threats, Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Mthoko Ngobese assured the public that police were on the ball and that visibility was being intensified.  “We’re on top of our game,” he said.

Police Minister Bheki Cele on Wednesday warned Pietermaritzburg people, particularly those around Imbali, that they should expect some kind of reprisals after two women and five men were killed during a shootout with police at a home in Scottsville.

One of the men killed was Sphelele Ntsuntsu Mkhize, the gang’s kingpin. Mkhize was charged with murder and rape, and had conspired to kill witnesses in his case, said police.

The officers returned fire. Numerous firearms, including AK47s, and ammunition were found at the scene.

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