Johannesburg - Award-winning hip-hop artist Khuli Chana has vowed to press charges against the police after he was shot in a case of mistaken identity in the early Monday morning.
The musician accidentally got caught in the crossfire of a Hawks and SAPS operation to recover a kidnapped Bedfordview man. He was shot in a hand and hit in the back with bullet fragments.
Provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said an adult male was kidnapped in an Ekurhuleni suburb around 8pm on Sunday.
His family received the ransom call shortly after, demanding that R100 000 be dropped off at the Caltex petrol station near the N1 highway in Midrand.
Numerous police vehicles surrounded the station, some parked inside, while others stood guard on the off-ramp leading back to the highway.
Dlamini said the Hawks had received intelligence indicating that the kidnapper was driving a grey BMW.
It’s understood the kidnapper was identified at the station, and an arrest was effected. The kidnap victim was also recovered.
But while the operation initially went smoothly, Chana – real name Khulane Morule – had arrived at the station in his BMW.
His manager, Refiloe Ramogase, said the 31-year-old artist was on his way to a gig in Pretoria and had stopped at the station on the way around midnight.
Dlamini said Chana, the father of a three-month-old, had left the station, but failed to stop at the blockade of Bedfordview police vehicles on the N1 off-ramp, prompting police to fire “warning shots”.
However, these shots ended up piercing the side of Chana’s car and, according to Ramogase, a bullet became lodged in Chana’s index finger, while a bullet that hit his driver’s seat burst into fragments, piercing his back.
“(Chana) is very, very upset, very disappointed in the police and how he was treated,” said Ramogase.
He said the problem with the police’s explanation was that his client does not drive a grey BMW – it’s blue.
“The reality of the matter is, this is police brutality. The police need to be more circumspect when they decide to use lethal force,” said Ramogase.
Chana was rushed to hospital, but was discharged around 5am on Monday. On Monday night, he was in shock and heavily sedated at home, according to his girlfriend, who declined to give her name.
Relatives had also dropped in to visit, and a Southern African Music Rights Organisation representative arrived at the house shortly after 8pm to drop off a bunch of flowers for the hip hop star.
“They almost took the life of a new father over a case of mistaken identity – before his (newborn) daughter ever even said his name,” said Ramogase.
He confirmed that Chana would be laying charges against the SAPS.
Dlamini said the incident would be probed by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
DA police spokeswoman Dianne Kohler Barnard has condemned the shooting, claiming the SAPS’s mentality of shoot to kill was still “alive and well”.