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Woman’s quick thinking saved her life

290812. Fochville Magistrates Court. An unidentified picture of the tavern owner standing in front of the jukebox where her partner was shot by men who terrorized Leeupoort informal settlement southwest of Johannesburg where four people were shot dead on Saturday night. 191 Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

290812. Fochville Magistrates Court. An unidentified picture of the tavern owner standing in front of the jukebox where her partner was shot by men who terrorized Leeupoort informal settlement southwest of Johannesburg where four people were shot dead on Saturday night. 191 Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Published Aug 30, 2012

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Johanensburg - She took a glass and smashed it against the lightbulb, plunging the room into darkness.

This way, the armed men who had just shot her husband in the neck and attacked the patrons of her shebeen wouldn’t see her.

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A few hours earlier, a violent attack had happened less than 500m away - allegedly the result of rivalry between groups of men from Lesotho - where one man was shot and killed inside his shack and several shacks were burnt down at the Leeupoort informal settlement, south-west of Joburg.

It would later spill over to the local shebeen, where more would die in what at first seemed like a random attack.

Four people were killed and five seriously injured.

An unknown number of men swarmed the area around the shack, which operated as a shebeen owned by Dineo* and her husband, and fired shots.

Some of the men then entered and shot dead two of the patrons, while another patron died in hospital on Sunday. They also assaulted people with sticks, said Dineo.

She thought there was a thunderstorm outside the shebeen as it was the first time she had “heard gunshots so close”.

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Dineo was standing in an adjoining room, which is divided by a corrugated iron wall, except for a small 30cm by 40cm window through which they sell liquor.

A step away from this window, Dineo pointed to the corner where one man was shot and killed by the gang.

When she realised what was happening on Saturday night, she smashed the lightbulb in this room with a glass so that the men would not be able to see her.

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Her husband had just put money into the jukebox and was heading to the door when he was shot. The bullet hit him on the right side of his neck and exited through the left side of his jaw, said Dineo.

She said she had recognised some of the attackers as people who used to stay in the area about a year ago.

On Wednesday, Sariel Samuel Letsoenyo, Moeketsi Petrus Sekhautsa and Lerata Stuurman appeared in the Fochville Magistrate’s Court in connection with Saturday’s attacks.

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Letsoenyo, 42, is charged with two counts of murder, arson and public violence. His bail application was postponed until September 6. He will be represented by a Legal Aid attorney.

Sekhautsa, 44, and Stuurman, 25, are charged with the murder of the first man who was shot in his shack. They chose to appoint their own attorneys and will appear again on Wednesday to arrange a date for their bail applications.

These charges are believed to be preliminary and could be extended through further investigations, said a source at the court. All three men will remain in custody.

*Not her real name

 

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