Joburg doctor taken to safe haven after colleague’s assassination
Johannesburg – The association of medical doctors has alleged that the Joburg anaesthetist who was killed in an apparent hit this week had received death threats prior to his death.
Dr Abdulhay Munshi was the co-accused in the Netcare culpable homicide case with paediatric surgeon Professor Peter Beale after they were blamed for the death of Zayyaan Sayed, 10, following a routine laparoscopic operation at the Netcare Park Lane Hospital last October.
The two doctors were granted R10 000 bail each and were expected to make their next court appearance on November 16.
Munshi was apparently shot six times in the back of the head after a vehicle rammed into the rear of his car while he was driving around Orange Grove, Joburg, on Wednesday afternoon.
Police confirmed a murder case was opened after the 57-year-old doctor was fatally shot on Wednesday afternoon. Police, however, did not release Munshi’s name but his colleagues have confirmed it was him.
“The motive for the shooting is yet to be determined. The case will be investigated by a multidisciplinary team on the immediate activation of the 72-hour response plan to detect the perpetrators,” police spokesperson Brigadier Mathaphelo Peters said in a statement.
SA Medical Association (Sama) chairperson Dr Angelique Coetzee told The Star that before Munshi’s death, the anaesthetist and Beale had received death threats. However, they didn’t take them seriously.
“The doctor (Munshi) and the paediatric surgeon (Beale) had received death threats before but it wasn’t taken seriously, I didn’t take it seriously. Dr Beale mentioned it to me last week and I don’t even think he took it seriously,” she said.
Coetzee said Sama believed the two doctors received death threats because of the case.
“It was not a normal murder or a robbery or a suicide attempt. Nothing was stolen and someone bumped into the back of his car and he came out to inspect what happened and there are witnesses who said he was just shot in the back,” she said.
Coetzee added that following Munshi’s murder, Beale was taken to a safe place for his protection.
“This is an extremely frustrating and traumatic situation. This should not have happened,” she said.
Meanwhile, a group of doctors gathered at Munshi’s home in Houghton on Thursday to pay their respects and protest against the circumstances of his death.
Munshi’s cousin, speaking on the behalf of the family, thanked the doctors who showed up to give support to the family. “This is very tragic and it’s extremely hurtful what has happened and we are very concerned by this, as you are,” he said.
Dr Goolam Hussim Mohamed, who knew Munshi for about 25 years, said the doctor was one of the best anaesthetists he knew. “He used to do very complicated cases and now we’ve lost him,” Mohamed said.
Anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee, who was also at the house, said the killing came as a shock to the medical fraternity and to ordinary South Africans.
“We know him as a gentle soul, we know him as a man who served with passion, honour and dedication and what happened yesterday (Wednesday) in Orange Grove was an indictment on the lawlessness and criminality.”
The SA Society of Anaesthesiologists said it was horrified and devastated by the murder.
“Munshi’s death provokes mass outrage and fear. The loss to our community is inconceivable.”