'Police are covering up'

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

The Matlakala family of Ivy Park, Polokwane, Limpopo, is demanding answers from the police after the fatal shooting of their son.

Jim Matlakala, 19, was allegedly shot and killed for stealing two bottles of beer at a liquor outlet at the weekend.

Matlakala was allegedly shot while running away from police on Saturday afternoon.

He was shot once on the back of the head.

The deceased was allegedly drinking with friends before the incident.

The police had earlier claimed that Matlakala threatened them with a knife before he was shot and killed.

But his family yesterday denied this, saying there son had at no stage had a knife in his possession.

Their claim was corroborated by an eye-witness at the scene.

"It is not true that Jim had a knife at the time he was shot," the deceased's uncle Johannes Matlakala claimed.

"The police have cooked up a story to try and get away with murder.

"The police should protect us and not kill us. They should teach us to fight crime and not to take the law into our own hands.

Matlakala said the family was determined to find out the truth about the murder.

"We believe the killing might have something to do with a vendetta rather than crime," Matlakala said.

Matlakala said Jim was a member of the area's community policing forum and did not deserve to die in the manner in which he did.

"He was instrumental in exposing some of the atrocities committed by police in this area," Matlakala said.

"We believe his murder was planned. We call on police service management to conduct its own investigation into the matter."

According to Senior Superintendent Motlafela Mojapelo the police were acting in self-defence after claiming that Jim Matlakala wanted to stab them.

But Mojapelo said the police would investigate the matter thoroughly in order to uncover the truth.

The Independent Complaints Directorate has also confirmed that it would investigate the shooting.