File photo: Pixabay
File photo: Pixabay

Philippi mom’s pain at losing three children in shooting

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Jul 9, 2019

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Cape Town – The last time Philippi resident Lindiwe Zwilibi saw her children Aphiwe, 25, Sikelela ,17, and nephew Sonwabo, 18, was when they were visiting a friend in Lower Crossroads at the weekend.

She was later called to the scene where the three were shot and killed on Saturday afternoon. About eight cartridges were believed to have been found at the scene.

“They were sitting at their friends’ house who had to leave them and go to a shop,” Zwilibi said.

“He then returned from the shop and found their bodies slouching in the chairs.

"I was later called by some family members who informed me about the incident.

"This all feels unreal. I am shocked and confused. I couldn’t even cry the way a mother should.”

Zwilibi said as far as she was aware, her children were not involved in any gang as she did not receive complaints from residents about them.

The youngsters were among the 11 people killed in less than 24 hours in Philippi East at the weekend.

Three of them were shot dead at a tavern metres away from where the Zwilibi children were killed. Two died at the scene while another was shot in the stomach and survived.

The shooting came hours after the bodies of six women, aged between 18 and 26, were found with gunshot wounds in the Marcus Garvey informal settlement in Philippi.

The women, whose names are yet to be released. were shot in the yard and main house of the property.

The shootings prompted police to place the area under a 72-hour action plan by public order police, the K-9 unit, and the Flying Squad.

Yesterday Police Minister Bheki Cele, joined by national police commissioner, Khehla Sitole and provincial police management addressed angry residents after he visited grieving families.

“I cannot confirm nor deny the shooting was gang-related but we will not rule it out,” Cele said. “We're not losing the war on crime.

"We will have additional police deployed in the area as well as the Tactical Response Team. We are working on giving Philippi East a permanent station commander."

Over the past two years Philippi East has been described as a “kill-or-be-killed” zone, plagued by young gangs who randomly shoot people they believe are threats and attack the most vulnerable, according to community leader and resident Lubabalo Maliti.

He said people did not feel safe in their own homes and gangs targeted the elderly and whistle-blowers.

Cape Times

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