Live ammo used in crowd protest

IT'S official - Jacob Malakane of Mashishing, near Lydenburg, was shot dead with live ammunition allegedly fired by police.

This follows demonstrations by local residents against the Thaba Chweu municipality in the wake of the disappearance of R3,2million, apparently from the municipality's main account. The police fired on the crowd, allegedly with rubber bullets.

Superintendent Sibongile Nkosi, spokesperson for Mpumalanga's acting police commissioner Rex Machavi, had earlier reported that the police used rubber bullets.

She then said the claim that live ammunition was used would be investigated.

A postmortem conducted at the Lydenburg Hospital yesterday confirmed that Malakane died as a result of a gunshot wound caused by a live bullet.

Independent complaints directorate (ICD) spokes-person Tiyani Sambo confirmed the postmortem results but could not verify that it was the police who had shot Malakane dead. He said this would be known only after forensic investigations were complete.

Meanwhile, the police were reluctant to comment and said the incident was being probed by the ICD.

Superintendent Sibongile Nkosi, spokesperson for acting provincial acting police commissioner Rex Machavi, also declined to comment further.

Malakane's family told Sowetan he was shot by a policeman who owed him money. Malakane's funeral is scheduled for Saturday at the local cemetery.

Sambo has requested anyone with information to contact the ICD's deputy provincial head Osborn Khanyi on 013-754-1000.