IT was a bloody Good Friday weekend in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape as seven people were gunned down in two separate incidents in what looked like a hit.
In the first incident, four patrons were killed outside a tavern in KwaZakhele on Saturday night.
Sisanda Cele (29), an innocent bystander, was shot dead by a stray bullet outside the tavern as two unknown gunmen fired shots several times allegedly at two of their targeted victims.
“It was like a movie. The place was packed and the gunmen came from nowhere and opened fire. It was chaotic as we ran in different directions. Bottles of booze were broken and booze spilled on the ground. We were screaming and covered our heads.
“Many of us didn’t know which side the shots came from,” said a patron.
Sisanda’s uncle said: “I went to the shop to buy bread and a patty to make a burger. But a few minutes after I entered the yard, I heard several gunshots coming from the tavern’s side. Then, I saw a group of people crying and running in different directions to take cover.
“I went inside the house and after the shooting died down, I checked for my niece but she was not at home. We got worried as she liked to socialise with her friends at the tavern.”
He said some patrons and community members came to their home and told them Sisanda lied dead under a table outside the tavern.
“We rushed to the scene and found other families crying. Their members were lying in a pool of blood with many bullet holes. But on my niece there were no visible injuries. The paramedics declared her dead on the scene. They suspected she was hit by a bullet that hit the wall first before it hit her,” he said.
Her mother Phumeza Cele (48) said she was heartbroken.
“My heart is bleeding because my daughter didn’t deserve to die like this. She was too scared of the sound of a gun. Whenever she heard gunshots she would immediately run and lock herself in her room. But on that day she was trapped and couldn’t run,” she said.
Phumeza appealed to Good Samaritans to help them with the burial.
“I don’t know how I will bury her because I am unemployed. I survive on a disability grant. Both my brother and sister are also unemployed.”
Colonel Priscilla Naidu said: “It is alleged that around 8.15pm, a grey VW Polo hatchback with two males arrived at the tavern in Mjamba Street and its occupants started shooting randomly at the people outside. Three people, two males and a female, were fatally injured while the fourth victim was gunned down while walking home from the tavern. He was shot not far in another street, allegedly by the same suspects and succumbed to his injuries in hospital.”
She said the victims were identified as Sisanda, Lusanda Matebele (age unknown), Luyanda Fumana (36) and Sandile Ngqondo (35).
“The motive for the shooting and the suspects are unknown at this stage,” Naidu said.
In another incident, a man and a woman were shot dead on Friday after purchasing bus tickets to Joburg. Meanwhile, a bystander was fatally wounded in Storey Street in Perridgevale.
Naidu said: “It is alleged that around 4.15pm, two people (male and female) aged 21 and 36 years old exited the offices of the bus company after purchasing tickets to Gauteng. As they exited, they were met by a hail of bullets fired at them.”
She said the woman collapsed close to the office while the man ran and collapsed in a shopping centre.
“An innocent bystander was also fatally shot by stray bullets as he left a supermarket on the premises. All three deceased sustained multiple gunshot wounds. It is further alleged that the suspects fled in a silver grey Honda Civic.
“Soon after the shooting, SAPS Mount Road members spotted a silver grey Honda Civic driving in Burt Drive, Newton Park, with no registration plates. They gave chase and as they tried to pull it over, it sped off.”
She said around five men were in the vehicle.
Naidu said during the chase, a firearm was tossed out of the vehicle on Searle Road.
“The vehicle crashed into a lamp post in Neave Street in Schauderville. All five occupants got out and ran in different directions.”
But they were later arrested.
“Anti-Gang Unit members spotted two males both with firearms running across Highfield Road. They chased after them and apprehended them in Peddie Street in Korsten. “Two firearms (a revolver and a 9mm pistol) were recovered. The vehicle was reported as hijacked in Humewood earlier in the day.”
She said the suspects have been linked to the murders and will be charged accordingly. They will appear in court on Tuesday on three charges of murder, two attempted murder for shooting at cops, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and being in possession of suspected stolen property.