Yousuf Deedat

Durban - Community activist Yousuf Ahmed Deedat remains in a critical condition at a medical facility in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. 

According to spokesperson for the Deedat family, Professor Salim Abdool-Karrim, Deedat is in a coma.

"His vitals sings and heart rate is fine. We anticipate that the next 48 hours will be critical for the family," he said. 

Abdool-Karrim said Deedat's family remained at his side at the hospital and are hopeful that he will recover. 

"It is a very tough time for the family. Everyone is going through a difficult time," he said. 

Deedat was shot in the head while walking towards the Verulam Family Court on Wednesday. He was with his wife at the time. She was not harmed in the shooting. 

Reaction Unit spokesperson, Prem Balram, said they arrived at the scene to find Deedat lying faced down on the ground. 

"According to witnesses, Deedat was walking towards the court with his wife when he was approached by a male who drew a firearm and shot him once before fleeing on foot,” Balram said. 

He added that a security officer who witnessed the incident had pursued the suspect, who got into a white Mazda that had been waiting for him on Groom Street, and which subsequently sped off.

“Due to the nature of the patient’s injuries, the Netcare 5 specialised ­helicopter ambulance was activated to airlift the patient to a specialist facility for the treatment he required,” Balram said.

Ashwin Trikamjee, the president of the Hindu Maha Sabha, described the incident as heartless and inhuman.

“In our society, these days the shootings and heartlessness towards people are taking place more and more often. We call upon law enforcement to act accordingly and make sure that they bring the suspects to book soon. We wish Deedat a speedy recovery, and I understand that the family is going through the worst time at this moment. We hope that the police act promptly and that justice will be served as soon as possible,” said Trikamjee.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said a case of attempted murder had been opened at Verulam police station for investigation, but that the motive for the shooting was still unknown.

The Mercury