Break the silence – police boss
Plea for information after nine Bay murders in seven days
Help us to help you – this is the heartfelt appeal from one of Nelson Mandela Bay’s most senior police officers to the residents of crime-plagued areas.
It comes in the wake of another bloody burst of violence in the metro, with the grim toll now standing at nine suspected hits in seven days.
Motherwell Cluster commander Major-General Dawie Rabie has urged anyone with information that could assist the police in the aftermath of a weekend of more murders, that appear to be targeted hits, to come forward.
Most of the suspected hits are being investigated for links to SMME infighting.
However, at least one is witness-related.
In the latest incidents, a Port Elizabeth businessman and a young woman returning home after celebrating her birthday were gunned down in New Brighton and Motherwell on Sunday night within 90 minutes of each other.
A Uitenhage man was also shot dead earlier in the day.
The names of the nine victims are Vuyani Ndike, 40, Themba Makalima, 25, Sabelo Ngquphe, 30, Baba Ningi, 48, Nkululeko Gcakasi, 44, Pamela Ngamlana, 27, Marina Ntamo, 37, Ludwe Papu, 42, and James Pietersen, 42.
Businessman Ndike was shot dead in the garden shortly after parking his Audi A4 in Tshiwula Street, New Brighton, at about 8.30pm on Sunday.
This is the same street where Makalima and Ngquphe were gunned down inside a small vegetable shop on Friday, while Gcakasi was shot dead on January 28 about 100m from where Ndike died.
According to witnesses, Ndike had been approached by two gunmen as he was closing his front gate.
“I was standing nearby, smoking a cigarette before going to bed,” Ndike’s uncle, Kholekile, said.
“As he was closing the gate, I heard several gunshots.”
Kholekile said his nephew – who was married, with two children – rented the house.
“I heard about eight gunshots. They [shooters] fled over the back wall,” he said.
Kholekile said he suspected the gunmen had injured themselves as there were drops of blood where they had run across the garden to escape.
Friends and family gathered outside the house on Monday described Ndike as a loving and honest man.
Police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge said Ndike had been shot in the head and back.
He said detectives were looking into the possibility of it being a hit.
“But at this stage, the motive is unknown. Nothing was taken from the scene.”
Asked if Ndike was linked to SMMEs, Beetge said police would look into his business dealings as well.
Ndike owns Progacha Services and Progache PTY, according to a business search.
Progacha was registered in August 2017 while Progache was registered in July 2018.
Beetge said the murders of Gcakasi, Ningi, Makalima, Ngquphe and Ndike were all being investigated for possible ties to SMMEs.
He declined to elaborate, saying the dockets had been given to the provincial organised crime team to consolidate the information.
Ngamlana was shot multiple times on Sunday, a few minutes after she returned home from a party with a friend where they had celebrated her February 1 birthday.
She was gunned down inside a small flat at the back of her mother’s property in KD Matanzima Crescent in Motherwell.
Beetge said Ngamlana had been shot at about 10pm.
“At this stage, we do not know what the motive is. It appears that nothing was stolen.”
He said the flat’s door had been kicked open and several shots fired.
“A person living nearby saw three unknown men running away from the scene, but it is not yet confirmed that these were the attackers.”
He said the motive for the murder was unknown, but police were looking into whether she was a state witness in any pending case.
“It is clear that it was not a robbery,” Beetge said.
A 63-year-old neighbour, who did not want to be named, said they had heard gunshots just after 10pm.
The woman said she was told by a family member later that one of the gunmen had told a male relative of Ngamlana’s to go back inside the house or he, too, would be killed.
“When the family member peered through a glass door, he was threatened.
“They then kicked [open] the door of the room where Pamela was sleeping.
“It appears she fell off the bed after being shot.”
The woman said she had picked up three cartridges after cleaning the blood from the floor.
“I gave it to the police,” she said.
Pamela had celebrated her birthday with a friend earlier on Sunday, feasting on pizza and chicken.
Her friend, 34, who asked not to be named, said: “We were celebrating her birthday.
“She was like a sister to me. I don’t know why this happened.”
Pietersen was killed inside his Deco Street, Uitenhage, house at about 7.15pm.
Police spokesperson Captain Gerda Swart said Pietersen and his girlfriend woke up when someone knocked on their front door.
“When they opened the door, two men entered the house,” Swart said.
“They talked for a few minutes and then there was a scuffle and a gunshot went off.
“One of the suspects approached the girlfriend, took her cellphone and ordered her to remain in the bedroom.
“The suspects then took the car keys and drove off in a maroon VW Caddy.
“The vehicle was found abandoned later in Uitenhage.”
Swart said Pietersen had been shot in the back of the head and died on the scene.
“The motive for the murder is unknown at this stage.”
Rabie urged residents to come forward with information which could assist police.
“We will work round the clock to get to the motives and suspects involved in these recent murders, but our community must break the silence.”
Black Business Caucus coordinator Ningi was gunned down outside the Lifa and Mafa Butchery in Koyana Street on January 28.
Six hours later, Gcakasi – who owned two businesses – was shot several times in Tshiwula Street.
The next day, Ntamo was gunned down after coming out of hiding, after witnessing her boyfriend’s murder in 2018.
She was shot dead in Tshangana Street, New Brighton, close to her home.
Police suspect Ntamo’s murder is a witness-related killing.
On Friday, a lone gunman fired several shots into a vegetable shop, killing Makalima and Ngquphe.
On Saturday, off-duty private security guard Papu was found dead in Kani Street, Veeplaas. He had been shot in the head.