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Johannesburg - The wrong place, the wrong time and the wrong car. These were the factors that led to the shooting of award-winning hip hop artist Khuli Chana early on Monday morning.
The musician was accidentally caught in the line of fire during a joint Hawks and SAPS operation to rescue a kidnapped Bedfordview man.
He was shot in the hand and hit in the back by bullet fragments.
According to provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini, a man was kidnapped in the Ekurhuleni suburb at about 8pm on Sunday night.
Few details about him were made known on Monday morning.
The victim’s family received a ransom call shortly after the kidnapping, demanding that they drop off R100 000 at the Caltex petrol station near the N1 highway in Midrand at the New Road offramp.
Numerous police vehicles surrounded the station, some parked inside, while others stood guard on the offramp leading back to the highway.
Dlamini said the Hawks had received information indicating that the kidnapper was driving a grey BMW.
While details were sketchy on Monday morning, it is understood that the kidnapper was positively identified at the fuel station, and was arrested.
The suspect was in possession of a police ID document and an unlicensed firearm.
The kidnap victim was also rescued.
But while the operation initially went smoothly, Khuli Chana - real name Khulani Morule – had arrived at the station too, in his own BMW.
His manager, Refiloe Ramogase, said the artist was on his way to a gig in Pretoria, and had stopped at the station on the way at about midnight.
Dlamini said Khuli Chana left the station in his BMW, but failed to stop at the blockade of Bedfordview police vehicles on the N1 offramp, prompting police to fire “warning shots”.
However, these shots ended up piercing the side of the car, and according to Ramogase, a bullet became lodged in Khuli Chana’s index finger on his right hand, and a bullet that hit his driver’s seat burst into fragments which hit his back.
“(Khuli Chana) is very, very upset, very disappointed in the police and how he was treated,” said Ramogase.
Ramogase said the problem with the police’s explanation of mistaken identity was that his client didn’t even drive a grey BMW – his was blue.
“The reality of the matter is this is police brutality.
“The police need to be more circumspect when they decide to use lethal force,” said Ramogase.
Khuli Chana was rushed to hospital, but was discharged on Monday morning at about 5am, and is recovering at home.
“They almost took the life of a new father over a case of mistaken identity - before his (infant) daughter ever even said his name,” said Ramogase.
The manager confirmed that Khuli Chana would be laying charges against the SAPS, and Dlamini confirmed that the incident would be probed by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
The 31-year-old hip hop artist became a father three months ago.
In May this year, Khuli Chana won three SA Music Awards - best rap album, best male artist and album of the year - for his new album Lost in Time.
Ramogase said the artist would not be making any formal statements on Monday, as the incident was still too fresh in his mind.
Khuli Chana’s partner and the mother of his child, who declined to be named, told The Star on Monday morning that neither of them would be speaking about the incident so as to not jeopardise the investigation.
All statements would be issued by his manager.