SHOCKED bystanders said yesterday (June 28) an off-duty policeman had shot dead a New Brighton man who was arguing with his girlfriend outside a tavern.
They said the officer had pulled over in his unmarked car, taken out his gun and shot the man twice in the chest at point-blank range.
The constable from the Motherwell police station is under investigation after the shooting on Monday night, which witnesses claim was unprovoked. The police confirmed he had been on leave and had used his private firearm.
The death of Ayanda Williams, 30, has sparked outrage from his distraught family, who called for justice to be served amid concerns that the police had neither arrested nor charged the constable.
The shooting happened at about 9pm in Njoli Road, New Brighton, while Williams and his girlfriend, Nomthandazo Ntisa, 30, were walking home after visiting the nearby Ngece Tavern. “We were arguing and I decided to leave and started walking home,” Ntisa said tearfully.
“He [Williams] ran after me and we were arguing on the side of Njoli Road when a blue Toyota Tazz stopped next to us. The man got out, walked straight up to Ayanda and shot him in the chest without saying a word. “I did not know what to do and just froze. As Ayanda fell to his knees, he grabbed my legs – blood was coming from his mouth.”
The couple’s friend, Surprise Magoqoza, 26, who had been walking behind them, said he had run away in panic when the “madman” started shooting.
“When I was about 100m away, he shouted at me to stop, saying he was a police officer.
“I stopped in my tracks and slowly walked back. I thought he was going to shoot me as well. The man then showed his police [appointment] certificate and the next thing he was on the phone calling the police and ambulance.” The two distraught friends tried to go to Williams, who lay in a pool of blood, but the policeman stopped them, saying:
“He is dead so stand back”.
Ayanda’s cousin, Nolusindiso Peter, 18, who arrived shortly after the shooting, alleged police at the scene had refused to speak to them and told the officer to “run away”. “They did not arrest him, but they took his gun away and told him to leave. I heard one policeman say to him he must go and hide before the community acted against him,” she said.
Williams’s furious uncle, Sabelo Williams, said the police needed to explain why this senseless murder had happened. “No one has told us anything. We need to know why this policeman shot and killed my boy,” he said, crying. Williams was self-employed and drove a jikeleza (township taxi) part-time.
Police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge said the policeman claimed he had acted in self-defence and that Williams had been aggressive with him when he stopped next to the couple.
“He claims to have stopped next to the road to offer assistance when [Williams] attempted to attack him,” he said.
“He said he had fired a warning shot and then after [Williams] continued to advance towards him, shot him in the shoulder.”
Beetge said because the policeman had claimed self-defence, he had not been arrested at the scene.
“We are investigating and if the evidence points to the fact that he knowingly shot [Williams], the necessary steps will be taken.”
The Independent Complaints Directorate, the police watchdog, confirmed yesterday it had been notified and was in the process of taking over the case.