Car-spin riot killing

Andrew Hlongwane

Andrew Hlongwane

At least one man was shot dead and seven police officers were injured in Mpumalanga on Sunday following a confrontation with car spinners.

A police van was also burnt to ashes during the scuffle in Bhuka Trust near Nelspruit.

Police said they were patrolling the main road on Sunday afternoon when they spotted a crowd that had gathered to watch a car-spinning spectacle as part of a sendoff for a deceased taxi owner.

"We tried to instruct them to stop drinking in public and ululating because this was disturbing public safety on a busy road. But the residents ignored the police and continued drinking and cheering the spinners," said Constable Muzi Ngomane of KaBokweni police.

"We then called for backup from our KaBokweni police and the nearby KaNyamazane police station to help control the situation. When the officers arrived the situation turned ugly."

He said stones, bottles and other objects were thrown at the police, forcing them to fire rubber bullets at the unruly crowd.

"Unfortunately one of the officers mistakenly used a live bullet and shot one of the residents.

"The victim was taken to Themba Hospital in KaBokweni where he died on arrival," said Ngomane.

In the ensuing chaos, seven officers sustained minor injuries and were treated at the local clinic.

One of the police vans was left behind when the injured officers were taken for treatment and it was burnt to ashes.

Four suspects were arrested and charged with attempted murder, arson, drinking in public and malicious damage to property.

The suspects will appear in KaBokweni magistrate's court today.