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Pretoria - Police have remained tight-lipped about the killing of an official of the Zimbabwean embassy at the weekend.
Lucky Hakueri, 37, a security official at the embassy, was shot and killed, allegedly by a police officer in Glenwood Road in Lynnwood on Saturday after apparently him and a friend were mistaken for possible lawbreakers.
Family members and witnesses said Hakueri and his best friend were waiting outside a friend’s complex in Glenwood Road at about 2pm. They were approached by an officer from the Garsfontein police station who was in civilian clothes and allegedly holding an R5 rifle.
The pair had arranged to meet their friend to play tennis and were waiting for her to open the gate. “I guess I took too long to open the gate and I heard shots. At the time, I had no idea Lucky was involved,” said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous.
She thought the officer had suspected Hakueri and his friend were criminals. The pair in turn thought the officer was a hijacker, as he was not in uniform, and they sped off.
The officer, according to Hakueri’s family and his friend’s wife, opened fire because he thought they were speeding off to evade arrest.
In an attempt to escape, Hakueri crashed his car into another vehicle nearby. Both the men were shot from behind, after which Hakueri lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a wall.
After trying to call Hakueri’s cellphone and failing to get a response, the woman ran outside to see what the commotion was about. She spotted Hakueri’s blue BMW several metres from the entrance to her complex.
“His friend was lying on the ground and the man had a gun pointed at him. I asked him why he was shooting them, explaining they were waiting for me. Only then did he put away his gun and call an ambulance,” the woman said.
She was not allowed near Hakueri, but said she could see he was not moving. “I was supposed to see him and he was waiting for me. Then everything just went wrong,” she said, adding Hakueri was a regular at the complex over weekends.
Hakueri’s wife, Sarah Sande, was at work in Joburg at the time.
She was informed of his death only after she tried to get hold of him. “He was a loving and caring husband. He was my life partner. I am nothing without him,” Sande said on Sunday as she cradled the couple’s two-year-old son, Leroy Camilo, in their Riviera home.
“He loved our son so much.”
The other man, Hakueri’s best friend of almost 10 years, was wounded in his right side and remains in intensive care at Zuid-Afrikaans Hospital in Sunnyside. He is believed to be under police guard.
He has yet to be told about Hakueri’s death.
His wife said the police had commented that he could face charges of burglary. “They (the police) are not telling me what’s going on. They are just saying he is a suspect.
“I don’t know what to tell my husband when he asks me,” she said, adding that he was an IT specialist and earned an honest living.
They have a two-year-old son.
Provincial police spokesman, Lungelo Dlamini declined to discuss the matter, saying it was now in the hands of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).
He said he could not provide details and it was not his problem that Ipid spokesman Moses Dlamini could not be reached for comment. Dlamini’s phone was switched off and by the time of going to press he had not responded to a Pretoria News e-mail or SMS.
It could not be established whether the police officer had been arrested. Sande said she was waiting for the family’s elders to arrive before funeral arrangements could be finalised.
“All I want right now is answers. I am confused and I do not know what happened to my husband.”
Zimbabwe’s deputy ambassador had gone to the police to try to get an explanation of what prompted the shooting, Sande said.