Durban family demands answers a year after daughter's death in botched hijacking
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Johannesburg - One fateful evening in June last year, a Durban woman was killed in a suspected botched hijacking after she had been to check up on her boyfriend after work. Bluff resident Londi Shozi, 23, was shot six times - with five bullets wounding her chest and another scraping her left leg.
Police say the alleged robbery took place on Umbumbulu Road, Malukazi, a township in the south of Durban.
Londi was with her boyfriend, Thanduxolo Sabela during the attack at about 6pm on June 12, 2019. (Sabela should not be mistaken with prominent ANC eThekwini Councillor Thanduxolo Sabelo).
Londi was fatally wounded, but Sabela managed to escape and was shot in the knee.
The couple's cellphones were taken, but the car, a Toyota Etios which had been a gift to Londi from her father when she turned 21, was not taken.
Shozi’s father Nkanyiso, a minibus taxi owner with taxis that operate in the uMlazi area, told IOL that he wanted justice for his daughter and did not want her case to be another ‘Senzo Meyiwa cold case’, stressing he did not want to go through the pain that the late footballer’s father went through for many years begging police for answers before he eventually died last year.
The father, who also works for a big car manufacturer in Durban, believes his daughter Londi had met and started dating Sabela at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College campus, where they both studied towards economic history and criminology degrees respectively.
He described Londi as a respectful, well-mannered and focused child who had her whole life ahead of her. She also loved her food, he said, reminiscing on the many times she would be found in the kitchen late at night at their Bluff home.
“She was a very disciplined child, that is why when she turned 21 I bought her a car to reward her like I did with her two older sisters. I always told my daughters that if they behave they will be rewarded, it was the same with my first two daughters, and the same with Londi,” he said.
Shozi Snr said losing his daughter in inexplicable circumstances was painful for the family.
“I didn’t even know she was dating, we were all shocked when we found out that she had a boyfriend… She was such a good child, the cream of the crop, she was not like us who had to struggle, I sent them to good schools, university and she was a very respectful young woman,I do not understand why anyone would want to kill my daughter,” said the father.
One year on, no one has been arrested for Londi’s murder and the family have approached the police several times seeking answers, the latest visit being last week where they met with the Station Commander at the Isipingo Police Station.
The father said they were still awaiting feedback.
KZN police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala confirmed police were investigating a case of murder.
“On 12 June 2019 at 8pm, the body of a 23-year-old woman was found with a gunshot wound inside a vehicle on the Umbumbulu Road in Malukazi.
“It is alleged that the victim was seated with a companion when they were attacked by unknown suspects who also robbed them of their cellphones. The matter is still under investigation.
“We would advise that the family speak to the Station Commander or Branch Commander should they not be happy with any aspect of the investigation,” said Gwala.
Shozi said the family wanted justice so they could get closure on the passing of their daughter, who is the third child of five siblings.
“It has not been easy, we need to get closure so we can heal. We have been attending counselling since last year to try to deal with this matter, it is very hard.
“What sort of hijacker kills the woman and not a man… We are still confused, we need answers and closure,” said Shozi.
Another aspect that has worried the family is that Sabela, the boyfriend, had never once been to the family to explain what happened that fateful night.
“He has never come to explain to us, he was not at the funeral either. That makes me really sad because I imagine he has parents as well, they should have come to console us at our time of need, but they did not do that,” he said.
Meanwhile, ANC eThekwini councillor Thanduxolo Sabelo released a statement clarifying that he was not the ‘Thanduxolo Sabela’ referred to in Londi’s brutal murder. He said he knew Sabela and that he was a distant cousin of his.
In his statement, he said he had been inundated with calls clarifying if it was he was involved in the matter.
“It is always unfortunate and tragic when a victim loses their life as a result of the excessively high crime rate plaguing our country. In this regard I empathise deeply with the family and friends of the victim and I understand their pain, suffering and frustration emanating from their loss.
“... My cousin till today remains traumatized as he had narrowly escaped death after sustaining a gunshot on his knee and had witnessed his girlfriend being brutally murdered in front of him.
“Whilst Mr Thanduxolo Sabela and I are related, as cousins, I categorically state that I had no involvement whatsoever with the incident in question and the confusion arising from our shared name and surname has been deliberately been manipulated on social media and other platforms by my detractors to achieve certain narrow political objectives,” said Sabelo.