‘Wrong man’ shot by cops
Johannesburg - Police officers in plainclothes ambushed a man and shot him three times in Orlando East, Soweto, in what they later said was a case of mistaken identity.
Mduduzi Nkosi, who was unarmed, was shot twice in the leg and once in the arm on Monday night by SA Police Service officers who mistook him for a criminal.
He is now in the intensive care unit at Lesedi Private Hospital in Diepkloof.
According to a witness who fears being named, Nkosi was sitting with a friend in his Polo TSI at about 9pm.
When he decided to return home, his friend got out of the car and walked towards his house.
But when Nkosi was about to drive off, he was allegedly cornered by a group driving a Chevrolet.
The vehicle had no number plates fitted and did not have any lights on.
There was also no indication that the people inside were officers, as they were wearing casual clothes and their vehicle was unmarked.
Instinctively, Nkosi assumed he was about to be hijacked and he reversed his car, but the officers then allegedly started shooting at him with an R5 rifle.
Nkosi then took a detour, but the Chevrolet followed and cornered him again.
A Johannesburg metro police department vehicle also arrived at the scene and cornered Nkosi’s parked vehicle.
When he saw the officers, he realised that the men in the Chevrolet might be police officers, and he got out of the car to surrender.
He told them that he had his driving licence and the car’s papers in the boot, which would prove that he was not a criminal.
However, the officers allegedly gave no response and, instead, fired three more shots at him.
The gunshots alerted residents, who came out of their houses to witness the commotion.
The angered residents, who were unaware at the time that the men were officers, asked why Nkosi was being shot at.
The officers then put their siren on and told them to return to their houses “before they get hurt”.
Orlando police spokeswoman Captain Nomvula Mbense admitted that the incident was a case of mistaken identity.
She said the fourth person who was in the Chevrolet was a murder suspect and was helping the police to identify a man believed to be in possession of illegal firearms.
The suspect identified Nkosi’s car as the place where the guns were being kept, but the officers were unable to identify Nkosi as it was dark.
Mbense said the officers had to open fire because Nkosi had tried to flee.
Nkosi’s sister, Nonhlanhla, said the way in which the matter had been handled was unacceptable.
“He was unarmed and was not a threat to police,” she said.
“He even surrendered and they still kept shooting at him.”
She also questioned the way in which the police officers had handled the crime scene.
“The officers removed the cartridges from the street and did not even take pictures of any evidence at the scene,” said Nonhlanhla.
She said the police had not taken statements from anyone at the scene.
Nkosi’s family planned on taking the case to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
“When we tried to open a case at the police station, the commander said they were unable to investigate a matter which concerned officers,” said Nonhlanhla.