No rule of law on Cape Flats

Two men convicted for the March 2020 mass shooting in Khayelitsha in Cape Town. Picture: File

Two men convicted for the March 2020 mass shooting in Khayelitsha in Cape Town. Picture: File

Published Nov 30, 2023


In convicting two men for the March 2020 mass shooting in Khayelitsha in Cape Town, a judge expressed his concern about police officers snitching to the Guptas gang about the fact that a brave witness had told police what had happened during the shooting.

This had endangered the life of the witness who is referred to as Mr X as he is in the witness protection plan.

At the end, the brave witness’s evidence ensured that two of the mass murderers, Gcinithemba Beja and Fandile Maseti, were convicted.

Western Cape High Court Judge Daniel Thulare accepted the evidence of Mr X regarding what happened that night at a lavern when seven people died in a hail of bullets. He also accepted the evidence that some SAPS members were in cahoots with gang members.

“The evidence of Mr X is not the imagination of a highly fertile, and dare I say, sick mind of an unoccupied and useless person. Unfortunately, it is a true reflection of the situation in Khayelitsha.”

The judge said the evidence of Mr X encapsulated in miniature the characteristics of a much larger situation in Cape Town.

“It is the daily life reality of the so-called ‘poor masses of our people’. They learn from the news on radio and television that there is an authority of the state, led by the minister of police to prevent, combat and investigate crime.

“In their reality, the gangsters ‘bullet rule’ applies in every inch from the street corner, through the police station to the grave.”

The judge said that in the gangster-controlled streets of the townships, the Bill of Rights do not apply and a Constitutional state was a myth.

“The Bill of Rights and the Constitution may apply and be enjoyed elsewhere in the country, but not in the island of their misery, which are the townships of Cape Town commonly referred to as the Cape Flats.”

On the night of March 7, 2020, four armed men arrived in a vehicle at a house in Khayelitsha, used as a tavern, and started shooting. It was tavern owner’s birthday party. Relatives, friends, patrons and visitors were in attendance. Some were seated outside the yard and some inside the house.

Around midnight, uninvited guests arrived and opened fire on the patrons, killing six of them.

Mr X, who saw most of what was taking place, survived.

The next morning, he and two others decided to go to the police. The commander of detectives who they intended to see was not there and they met another detective. They told that detective of their mistrust of some of the police at Site B police station as the members socialised with some of the gang members.

The detective wanted to take their statements but they did not give the statements as the police members they did not trust were hovering around.

They left without making statements. After about two hours, Mr X returned alone to the police station, where he gave his statement to an officer who promised that nothing would happen to him.

The policeman also advised him that the case would be handed over to the provincial team for further investigation. As he left the police station, he met a policeman known to him as one close to the Guptas gang.

The officer said to him that he (Mr X) “loved the police station”.

He ignored him and continued walking. As he walked in the township, several people asked him what he had done as the Guptas were looking for him.

The message that he had made a statement to the police about the incident had been passed on to the Guptas.

He learnt that the the Guptas had intensified their search for him and had gone to his home.

He then left the township and waited for the provincial detectives at a freeway. The police suggested that he be taken to the rural village from which he came in the Eastern Cape.

He was in transit with the police to the rural village when his aunt called and warned him that the gang members were looking for him in the village.

This led to him being in the witness protection programme from that point.

Judge Thulare hailed Mr X, who was the only witness who dared to speak out despite the threats to his life, for being a trustworthy and reliable witness.

The two mass killers are set to be sentenced at a later date.

Pretoria News

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