Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula speaks to the community at the tavern in Gugulethu where Solly Tyibilika was shot. Picture: Masixole Feni

Sports minister Fikile Mbalula has assured the family of slain former Springbok Solly Tyibilika that his killers will soon be arrested.

On Tuesday, he visited the tavern in New Crossroads, Gugulethu, where Tyibilika was killed and spoke to his relatives who had arrived in the city on Monday from Port Elizabeth.

Before Mbalula’s late arrival, the Rev Vuyani Ntini of the Sivuyile National Baptist Church in Gugulethu led family members and the community in prayer and song, at the spot where Tyibilika was shot inside KwaNtozi’s Tavern.

Mbalula addressed a sizable crowd which had gathered in the driveway, telling them that the criminal deeds of tsotsis were to blame for his loss. “Crime does not pay. The arms of the law are long, whoever did this to Solly will be caught.”

Mbalula urged the community not to hide criminals “because one day they will come for you”.

“Solly was shot as if he was no one. He was a role model, especially among black players. It’s not just the family that lost a member, it’s all of us,” he said.

The future of sports in South Africa was bright, he said, as many more players like Tyibilika would be produced.

Police spokesman Frederick van Wyk said on Tuesday that, contrary to earlier police reports, Dan Shumane, one of the two men arrested with Tyibilika on October 17 on charges of illegal possession of a 9mm handgun, had not been killed.

However, he confirmed that their fellow co-accused, Sandile Magunqu, had died.

“The investigation is at a very sensitive stage,” he said.

“SAPS’s focus is on the most recent incident and all areas linking the deceased, or his alleged involvement in other cases, will be investigated.”

Nozipho Nikane, an aunt of Shumane, said he had left New Crossroads and gone into hiding fearing for his safety after Tyibilika’s murder.

Shumane had been a promising cricketer and spent time at the Western Province Rugby Academy in 2004, where he played on the flank.

Sonwabe Mtenze, Shumane’s former coach at Lagunya Rugby Football Club, said he had stopped playing last season due to a knee injury.

”He loved to party but he was a good guy,” Mtenze said.

Magunqu was believed to have been involved with the wrong crowd, said a friend who did not want to be named: “He associated with gangsters, and it is believed the gun belonged to him. On the night of their arrest he had received a lift from Solly and Dan.” - Cape Times

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