Family reels after son shot while washing vehicle

Image: 123RF/Lucian Coman

A 20-year-old man is fighting for his life in hospital after he was shot by a vehicle recovery crew who found him washing a car reported missing.

The drama was triggered by a relative who phoned Cartrack to report that her husband and his car had gone missing and she suspected foul play.

Thembi (not her real name) of Etwatwa, Daveyton, on the East Rand, got worried when her husband did not return home on Saturday night.

She made several calls to him but his cellphone was off all the time. She then checked the vehicle-tracking app linked to his Toyota Avanza.

"The app showed me that the vehicle was in an unidentified location. I panicked and decided to call Cartrack to inform them that the car was missing," she said.

Thembi's husband returned home yesterday unharmed in the car and the two argued over his disappearance.

"I forgot to call Cartrack to inform them we got the car back because we had been arguing over his disappearing act. There was a lot of commotion in the house, hence I forgot to call Cartrack," Thembi said.

"While we were still talking, two white guys arrived from Cartrack and found Mpumelelo [their son] washing the car. He was playing music in the car. He was unarmed. They shot him at close range just below the chin and the bullet went through his neck.

"When I got out to explain to these guys what had happened, they were already aggressive. They tried to shift blame, suggesting that Mpumelelo fought with them.

"What I do not understand is that they shot an unarmed person. Mpumelelo is small in frame. One of the boys who was also outside said they also slapped him on the face," Thembi said.

The Cartrack crew later called an ambulance and after about 45 minutes, Mpumelelo was taken to hospital. Police were also called to the scene.

Yesterday, Mpumelelo underwent surgery due to the damage caused by the bullet.

Thembi was still in shock about what she went through.

"A lot was going through my mind while Mpumelelo was bleeding profusely. At some stage I really thought he was going to die. I was really scared," she told Sowetan.

Asked if her husband explained where he was, Thembi said he only told her that he attended someone's birthday party but he did not mention the location.

Mpumelelo's father, whose name Sowetan has withheld to protect the identity of the family, was left with a lot of questions.

"My son was not carrying a piece of steel or something that would show that he posed danger to these guys. They simply shot him.

"The car was parked right at the address to which it is registered. It is clear that these Cartrack people did not bother to ask what my son was doing with the car.

"He was only washing his uncle's car," the father said.

Cartrack could not be reached at the time of going to print.

When Sowetan contacted its emergency number, a person who answered the phone said the people permitted to speak to the media would only be available today.

Capt Kay Makhubele confirmed the incident but said no one has been arrested.

"A case of attempted murder has been opened and is under investigation," Makhubele said.

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