AN off-duty Zimbabwean soldier was shot dead in cold-blood at a shopping centre in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, in South Africa on Monday.
The deceased, identified as Phakamile Ncube from Mtshabezi near Gwanda, had gone to South Africa for shopping, when he was gunned down by a suspected security guard in Hillbrow.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore yesterday confirmed the incident and said the army would assist in repatriating his body for burial.
“He was our member and on official leave. He must have, like any other citizen, gone to that country to visit. We will assist in all possible ways in his burial,” Makotore said.
South African police spokesperson, Vish Naidoo referred NewsDay to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate spokesperson, Moses Dlamini, who declined to comment on the matter.
A close relative said Ncube was gunned down after being in Johannesburg for a week and was about to travel back home.
“He went into a Discount Foods Shop and bought large carrier bags known as tshangani bags. A man now known to be a security guard at the supermarket followed him and placed a gun on the back of his neck and killed him,” a relative narrated, saying they suspected that the two could have had an altercation before the incident.
Other sources said the attacker was a robber, who had earlier tried to rob Ncube inside the shop but failed.
Ncube was reported to have succumbed to excessive bleeding, as the ambulance only arrived at the scene to pick him up after an hour.
“Had the ambulance arrived earlier, this man could have been saved,” a close family member, who declined to be named, said.