Another state witness gunned down

A state witness was gunned down outside Zwide’s Kwaito Tavern on Wednesday night.

Lutando Grootboom, 46, a barman at the Port Elizabeth tavern, was shot outside the establishment at about 8pm.

A second state witness, Yandile Mbaza, 43, was shot in cold blood in the lounge of his New Brighton home while having supper on Sunday.

Grootboom was the complainant and a key witness in an armed robbery last year at the same tavern.

Police spokesman Captain Andre Beetge said Grootboom was shot four times.

“A man called him outside of the tavern, after which [people] heard four shots being fired,” Beetge said.

“When people went to look, Grootboom was lying outside the tavern bleeding to death.

“A man was seen running away. He jumped into a car that was parked nearby.”

Beetge said detectives were still investigating.

However, he confirmed that Grootboom was both witness and complainant in the case of armed robbery at the tavern in June.

“We are looking to see whether the murder is linked to the pending case.”

Beetge confirmed that an arrest in the tavern robbery case had been made, and that the suspect was in St Albans Prison.

“The trial for the armed robbery is scheduled to take place shortly, so it does raise red flags when the main witness is killed,” he said.

At the weekend, Mbaza was shot in the face, also at pointblank range, in what police suspect could be an attempt to get the case thrown out of court.

Mbaza was the victim of a hijacking in November, and the case was due to be heard in the New Brighton Magistrate’s Court next month.

Police suspect the killing was planned from jail as two of the alleged hijackers are still in custody at St Albans Prison.

Mbaza’s murder has led to a task team of veteran detectives taking over the case.

Both murders will now be investigated by a team looking into the killing of witnesses.

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