Police search for gunmen who killed child after 'gangster' funeral
A detective task team has been set up to track down the gunmen who randomly shot into the air at a funeral after party in Port Elizabeth at the weekend, resulting in the death of an 11-year-old child.
Mbasa Dlamini died on Saturday afternoon after he was hit by a stray bullet when random shots were fired at the wake of alleged gangster Siyamthanda “Ncuncu” Ndema.
Police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge said a preliminary probe into the shooting indicated that the funeral started at 7am at Ndema’s home in Makhubalo Street and ended at about 1:30pm at the cemetery in Motherwell.
“Many of the funeral goers then returned his [Ndema’s] home where people gathered in the street. The spinning of vehicles also took place in the tightly packed street,” he said.
“At about 2:50pm, several gun shots were fired by unknown gunmen in the street, and one of these shots is suspected to have hit the 11-year-old boy watching the street activities.”
Dlamini was declared dead at Dora Nginza Hospital shortly after arriving.
Asked why no police were on the scene at the time of the shooting, Beetge said officials had been sent to oversee to the funeral but were not aware that the party would continue.
“The police had already left the funeral and it was unexpected that this would happened near his house,” he said
“There is an investigation into the entire funeral and exactly what transpired.”
Ndema was gunned down at about 1:15am on January 7 outside Gqalane's tavern in Makhanda Street, Zwide.
Detectives, who are still investigating the murder, suspect the killing is linked to an ongoing gang dispute between robbery gangs in the area.
Beetge said Ndema was well-known to police but had never been convicted as most of the cases had been withdrawn.
Ndema had been arrested several times with a total of nine cases of theft and armed robbery between 2012 and 2016, mainly in the Kwazakele and New Brighton areas.
Eight of these cases were withdrawn and one – a case of armed robbery – was still due to go to court.
Motherwell Cluster Commander Major-General Dawie Rabie has issued a stern warning to residents to refrain from participating in these “after tears celebrations”.
“A crowd gathered afterwards at Makhubalo street where general lawless behaviour took place, which included spinning of vehicles and firing of firearms within that close ranges of the crowd,” he said.
“These persons did not even run away while the shots were fired.”
Rabie said he was disappointed in those who had attended the funeral.
“It appears that certain community members hero worship these Mginza gangsters and attend the ‘after tears’ party as a final farewell.”
The Motherwell Violent Crimes Unit is investigating.
“We are aware of who operates with the deceased and are looking into their involvement,” Rabie said.
“The investigation is sensitive at this time and I can assure the residents, all leads are being followed up.”