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KwaMakhutha community in shock after drive-by shooting claims the lives of four friends and leaves six critically injured

The spot where a group of friends were shot and killed at Bra Mbatha Lane in KwaMakhutha, over the weekend. Picture: SUPPLIED.

The spot where a group of friends were shot and killed at Bra Mbatha Lane in KwaMakhutha, over the weekend. Picture: SUPPLIED.

Published Jan 25, 2022

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DURBAN - The KwaMakhutha community in KwaZulu-Natal is in shock after a drive-by shooting in which four people were killed on Sunday afternoon.

Bongani Ngcongo, 34, Ayanda Ngcongo, 32, and Nkululeko Sabela, 25, all died in KwaMakhutha Clinic while Masithela Mkhize, 56, died at RK Khan Hospital after sustaining gunshot wounds, while another six people were critically injured.

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Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said they received reports of a shooting in KwaMakhutha, where men in an unknown vehicle opened fire on a group of friends who were sitting under a tree.

“Upon arrival at the location, police witnessed the bodies of three men with gunshot wounds to the body. All three victims were rushed to a nearby clinic where they succumbed to their injuries upon their arrival,” Mbele said.

Another seven men were taken to hospital for medical attention.

The motive for the attack was yet to be established as investigations were still ongoing.

Mbele said charges of murder and attempted murder were opened at KwaMakhutha SAPS.

A father of one of the deceased, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of his life, said the incident happened minutes after he had passed the group on his way home.

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“A sound similar to crickets (firecrackers) came from that direction. As the sound persisted, I looked out my window only to see two men standing there with big guns spraying bullets all over the place. I am in disbelief because the shooting was random. I cannot understand why my son had to die so painfully.”

A clearly agitated eyewitness, Bonga Hlabisa, said gunmen ambushed a group of friends who had gathered under a tree as they had always done.

“At around 4.10pm, I was sitting in my house, after just being in the same place, only to hear a car move past. When I looked out my window I saw gunmen get out of the car and started firing a hail of bullets. The police were called to the scene, but they only came around three hours later.

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“The police’s lack of response exacerbated our trauma. The sound of the bullets haunted me the entire evening, I could not bring myself to forget what happened even for just a couple of hours. As you can see, we are still shedding a tear while talking to you because we lost friends and even those who are in hospital are not promising, as they are in a critical condition.”

Hlabisa said the victims were friends from all over the province, but most were from Mid-Illovo and uMkomaas.

“We all come from different places and some of us are related, the only thing that brought us together was the feeling of home away from home. And that spot was where we met every Sunday to tell stories and just share life. We are heartbroken,”Hlabisa said.

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Ward councillor Nomvula Hlomuka appealed for an increase in police presence and said the number of police stations, compared to the wards in the area, called for immediate intervention.

“The community is shocked. This is not what happens in our area, and that is not to say we do not have troublemakers. But,it is to reaffirm our long call for an increase in police presence in the area. There are six wards in KwaMakhutha with the service of one police station. So, we do need the police to intervene immediately, because the entire community is in disbelief. It is like a dark cloud has engulfed the area,” Hlomuka said.

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