The Port Elizabeth businessman and single father who was gunned down in his bakkie with his two children next to him is believed to be the victim of a witness killing linked to the murder of his best friend’s son.
Dumisani Madikane, 51, and his children, aged three and six, were attacked while leaving their Sali Street home in Zwide at about 7.15pm on Thursday.
His callous murder in front of his young children has left the Zwide community in shock.
Friends and family members gathered at Madikane’s house yesterday afternoon. Most were too traumatised to talk about the incident.
Madikane was shot eight times in the upper body by an unknown number of gunmen who ambushed him in his Chevrolet bakkie only minutes after he left his house.
According to friends, he was en route with his children to visit his mother in Kwazakhele.
Friends and police suspect his murder was linked to the killing of his best friend’s son, Aphiwe Madolwana, 20, only two streets away.
Madolwana was shot and killed in a suspected botched robbery three weeks ago, but since then detectives have been trying to establish if he, too, was a witness in another investigation.
Madikane’s car was struck several times as the shooters opened fire as he approached an intersection about 100m from his home.
He was shot at close range, judging from where the cartridges were found.
Both children, who were sitting alongside him in the bakkie, were left traumatised and covered in blood.
His six-year-old daughter sustained a gunshot wound to the lower back. His son was not injured.
Officers on the scene initially thought the children – who are not being named – had been hit by stray bullets, as they were drenched in blood.
Madikane owned a small, successful internet cafe and phone shop in Njoli Street in Kwazakhele.
Detectives suspect the gunmen were hiding a few houses away from his home, waiting for the time to strike.
Initially detectives suspected the motive to be hijacking, but it later emerged that Madikane had been a witness to the murder in Tonjeni Street three weeks ago.
Neighbour and best friend Sandla Madolwana, 54, who had known Madikane since childhood, called the attack a senseless murder.
Madolwana’s son, Aphiwe, was shot in a robbery that Madikane witnessed.
“He [Aphiwe] was shot after [the robber] wanted his cellphone. We don’t actually know what happened, but in the end he was shot, and died,” Madolwana said.
“While the incident was happening, a friend had run to my house for help, but I was not here. He [Madikane] was here and got into his car. He raced over there to help my child, which is when the incident happened.
“I know who the shooter is and he has just got out of jail.
“We [he and Madikane] grew up together and our parents were also best friends.
“He was like my brother and his family was my family.”
Madikane’s friend, and a well known doctor in the area, Bongani Nqini, declined to talk to the media while at the house.
“Everyone is traumatised,” he said.
Several family friends stood outside the house.
“We are really shocked and very angry. He [Madikane] was just such a nice guy and always helping everyone. You could ask him for help at any time of the day or night and he would go out of his way to assist.
“This is a massive loss to our community,” one friend, who declined to give his name, said.
“He was an avid soccer player and loved the game, particularly assisting children with learning about it.”
Friends said Madikane had been president of the Njoli United Brothers Football Club, which he had sponsored.
Police spokesman Captain Andre Beetge said the preliminary investigation suggested Madikane’s murder could be linked to a witness killing.
“It is possibly linked to the murder, but the matter is very sensitive and detectives are following up leads,” he said.
Beetge confirmed that Madikane’s daughter was hospitalised but not considered to be in a serious condition.
“We are consulting with his next of kin, who are all very traumatised at this stage.
“For their safety we do not want to reveal where these children are.”
Beetge said both murder investigations had been taken over by the Trio Task Team, who investigate serious crime.