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Shots fired into the air at funeral services in the Red Hill cemetery in Durban are terrifying nearby residents.
In the latest incident at the weekend, a spent bullet was found on the doorstep of a nearby house.
The Belvedere Road resident, who refused to be named, said the bullet was found on her front doorstep on Sunday after a funeral service on Saturday.
“I was so shocked. I thought, what if my grandson had been playing outside and the bullet had hit him, or my husband or me,” she said.
The resident, who has lived in Red Hill for 12 years, said seeing a convoy of “big” cars going past her driveway to funerals was normal.
“Every weekend this happens. The police have been called but, by the time they get here, most of the culprits have gone,” she said.
Red Hill neighbourhood watch chairman Howard Oram said he recognised the bullet as coming from a 9mm pistol.
Oram said that similar problems were being experienced at cemeteries on the Bluff and in Pinetown.
“The bullet has no markings to identify it and link it to a certain firearm,” he said, adding that he would hand it to police.
Oram said this had gone on for too long and something had to be done before people were hurt or killed.
“About four years back, at the bowling club, a man collapsed and people thought he had had a heart attack or a stroke – only to find he had been grazed by a stray bullet from one of these funerals.
“We have already spoken to the police about it,” he said.
Police spokesman Thulani Zwane said what was happening was illegal.
“Anyone who fires shots in a built-up area can be charged for discharging a firearm in a municipal area. Anyone can report this to the police and a case opened,” he said.
Zwane said they were aware of what happened at the funeral service at the weekend and an arrest had been made.
“A suspect was arrested for possession of an unlicensed firearm after a shot was fired at Red Hill cemetery,” he said.
However, it was difficult for police to search hundreds of mourners at a funeral.
Vuyo Gwala, spokeswoman for the
eThekwini municipality, said the relevant department would investigate the cemetery problem, as the city had not been aware of it.