Vigilantes shoot ‘whoonga’ addicts

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DAILY NEWS

Paramedics attend to Mnqobi Mthembu, 21, originally from Umlazi, who was shot twice when a group of vigilantes from Mayville looking to retrieve stolen items, allegedly opened fire on people at Whoonga Park. Picture: Puri Devjee

Durban - Two “whoonga” addicts have been shot during a daring vigilante attempt by Mayville residents who wanted to retrieve their stolen property from a notorious park drug den – the new “Whoonga Park”– near Che Guavara (Moore) Road.

Also, an ill woman nearby died, apparently from shock after hearing the gunshots.

The residents had abducted a man they had found at 3am in Mayville. Bleeding from his face, the man admitted to the Daily News that had been doing “bad things”.

“They asked me about their stuff which was stolen and beat me until I confessed to knowing where it was,” he said.

A source said the Mayville men claimed that homes had been broken into the area in the past week and they wanted their goods back.

At around 7am, they drove the man to King Dinuzulu park where the whoonga addicts congregate in a mini-van.

Sandile Mabaso, who witnessed the incident, said they initially thought it was police but when they saw the “informant” being beaten inside the car, they approached.

“When we surrounded the car, one of the guys pulled out a gun. We dragged him out of the car and he shot (at us) as he was trying to run away.” Mabaso said the car hit some people as the driver frantically tried to manoeuvre out of the park with the gun-wielding passenger running on foot.

Nonhlanhla Mthembu, 34, said she was sleeping next to her friend and brother when they were awoken by the shots. “We watched from under the covers as the man with the gun fired shots into the air. More and more people surrounded him so he shot at them before they sped off,” she said.

It was a while before she realised her brother Mnqobi, 21, had been shot.

“The bullet hit him on his neck and his shoulder.”

She called for help but many of the addicts were chasing the car on foot.

Durban Central Police station spokesman, Captain Khephu Ndlovu, said police had cut off the residents as they made their getaway on Che Guevera Road and arrested them. A 9mm pistol and seven live rounds were recovered.

Back-up police, including Durban Tactical Response, Metro and Mayville police, had to be called in as the mob of addicts stood off with police, baying for blood.

A line of police cars kept them at bay and they were eventually escorted back to “Whoonga Park”. It was then that the wounded were found.

They were carried in blankets by other addicts to receive medical care near King Dinuzulu Park. Mthembu was shot in the neck and shoulder. Another man in the foot and the third man had been beaten.

When the commotion seemed to be dying down, police were approached by addicts who said their friend had died. Nompumelolo Buthelezi said she had been sleeping with Mbali Mkhize when they were startled by the gunshots.

“Mbali panicked and died from the shock.” Buthelezi stood over the body of her friend which was covered in a blanket.

She did not bother to swipe away the flies buzzing around her face and body.

Ndlovu said the seven Mayville men would be charged with attempted murder.

Ndlovu said police would not tolerate people taking the law into their own hands.

Daily News


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