The man whose bullet-riddled body was found in Kwazakhele more than a week ago was wanted for questioning in a recent jewellery store heist at Greenacres Shopping Centre, raising questions as to whether his murder was linked to that crime.
While police are still gathering details, they have confirmed that Xolisa Mantana, 20, whose body was found near a bus stop in Daku Road 11 days ago, was wanted for questioning after being linked to the gang that allegedly pulled off the Fischer’s Jewellery robbery last month.
Due to the nature of the heist, the Port Elizabeth Organised Crime branch of the Hawks had taken over the case, and while three arrests were made shortly after the crime, there has been no further breakthrough in the case.
Police spokeswoman Constable Mncedi Mbombo confirmed that a link between Mantana and the gang was being investigated. His body was found on August 5 with multiple shots to the chest and one to the head.
“It appears that [Mantana] was shot dead while standing at the bus stop,” Mbombo said.
“A suspected stolen firearm was also found in his possession.
She said it was unclear whether Mantana was a victim of a drive-by shooting or was ambushed.
Insiders confirmed that a firearm – a vector pistol that had the serial number filed off – had been sent for ballistic testing. Detectives must still ascertain whether the firearm is linked to the Greenacres robbery on July 29, in which a passing motorist was attacked and killed, or is one of several firearms stolen last month, days before the heist.
While the motive for Mantana’s murder remained unknown, Mbombo said, detectives were investigating whether it was linked to the gang that pulled off the robbery.
Only days before the heist, three gunmen hijacked and robbed two police officers patrolling Stofile Street of a bulletproof vest, two firearms and 45 rounds of ammunition.
Also last month, a cash-in-transit company, a security guard company, a provincial traffic officer and two armed response companies suffered attacks, losing seven firearms.