Johannesburg - The Ekurhuleni metro cop who allegedly gunned down an unarmed civilian during a lockdown operation had "illegally" carried a firearm and knew the deceased well, according to Vosloorus community members.
Residents revealed details of the city's metro police department (EMPD) officer – known as "Bashin Malankane" in the area – as the accused is expected to make his first court appearance in Boksburg on Tuesday.
His real name cannot be revealed until he makes his first appearance in court.
The EMPD officer, with an Ekurhuleni private security official, are facing murder and attempted murder charges.
Theyo are accused of killing 40-year-old Sibusiso Amos and severely injuring four children – aged between five and 11 – who were caught in the crossfire of the shooting attack.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) said Sibusiso Amos, 40, was killed in front of his mother on the family veranda in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni, with the deceased's nieces and nephews also suffering severe injuries.
According to the police watchdog Ipid, allegations are that e Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department officials were patrolling the area on Sunday and noticed people drinking alcohol in a tavern.
In an attempt to enforce the Covid-19 lockdown regulations, the officers tried to arrest the revellers, but were instead attacked.
The same people, together with some community members, attacked them. In retaliation the police then discharged the rubber bullets.
It is further alleged the deceased was followed to his veranda home where he was fatally shot in front of his mother.
The four children, aged between 5 and 11, were inside the house during the shooting, and were hit by shrapnel.
According to community members, Bashin grew up a few streets from the deceased Amos, who was on parole after being released from prison in January.
Fani Sibeko, an EFF member of the Ekurhuleni council, told The Star on Monday it was illegal for “Bashin Malankane” to carry firearms as the suspect was a member of Ekurhuleni’s peace security division.
Sibeko said he was on the scene moments after Sibusiso was killed on Sunday.
“The same rubber bullets that were used to kill Andries Tatane were used on the deceased. Why would the EMPD have that ammunition and use it at close range?” Sibeko asked.
Andries Tatane was a Ficksburg, Free State, community activist who was allegedly shot dead in 2011 by seven police officers in a community protest regarding a lack of water.
The officers were found not guilty in the subsequent trial.
“The EMPD say they were responding to a call to a tip-off regarding people who were drinking illegally during the lockdown. But why would the EMPD deploy their Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) unit to this scene?” Sibeko asked.
“The suspect (Bashin) was part of the EMPD’s peace unit, which is not allowed to carry guns and is not part of the Swat unit. So, the question is why was he (the suspect) carrying a gun and part of Swat?”
EMPD spokesperson Kobeli Mokheseng referred all comments to Ipid, which he said was handling the case.
Ipid spokesperson Sontaga Seisa confirmed the directorate were investigating and an EMPD officer and a private security official were arrested.
"The arrested male persons have been identified as an Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department officer, aged 34, and a 45-year-old civilian person, who is believed to be a private security officer.
"Our investigation is ongoing."