Families of Finetown shooting victims say police were slow to respond to scene

The victims of the Finetown shooting were street vendors and bystanders. File image.
The victims of the Finetown shooting were street vendors and bystanders. File image.
Image: Ziphozonke Lushaba

The families of some of the victims of the Finetown shooting have alleged police were slow to respond to the incident on Saturday and no arrests have been made though the suspects “are known”.

Street vendors and bystanders were shot — seven reportedly died and others were wounded — on Saturday night by a group of men who allegedly attempted to rob them in Ennerdale, Johannesburg. The robbers opened fire when the vendors resisted, according to witnesses.

“They [the shooters] are known. Yesterday there was a rumour that they robbed people by the corner of the taxi rank,” said Nthabeleng Mareke, sister-in-law of two victims, Pinky Kose, 41, and Thabang Motloung, 22.

Police arrived very late. We were in the streets with the dead bodies. We didn’t even sleep. We are numb. There’s a lot of crime in the area but no-one takes it seriously
Thabisa Makhoba, mother of Sanele 'Sparks' Makhoba

She alleged the attackers were foreigners known to be heavily armed.

“They are very territorial, they commit a lot of crimes. The incident happened about 9pm but they [the police] came at about 3am and we still had to wait for paramedics, with the bodies of our loved ones on the ground. It was such a big scene and only about 4am were they taken away.

“We don’t feel safe. They pass here as if nothing happened and the police are not doing anything about it,” said Mareke. 

Gauteng police spokesperson Brig Brenda Muridili said about four assailants tried to rob vendors selling chicken feet. The vendors allegedly resisted and threw stones at the suspects and their vehicle’s rear window was damaged. The suspects drove off and came back on foot with firearms. They shot at the vendors and bystanders, hitting 11 people.

On Sunday it was reported that six people died but the number has increased to seven.

Muridili had not responded to queries about the conduct of the police at the time of publication. The article will be updated once a response is received. 

Mareke said the families of the victims face an uphill battle.

“We don’t even know how we will bury them or who will feed their children. It’s tough. Their brother is even considering selling his car to bury them. Finetown has a lot of crime, but you don’t imagine the danger coming to your doorstep and having to identify your siblings on the ground with blood all over them,” she said.

Sanele “Sparks” Makhoba, 22, and his friends died during the shooting. 

His mother Thabisa Makhoba said he was a “sweet young man”. 

“He's my child and maybe I'm not objective, but he was the best person ever. He was focused on his business and he had big business plans. His dreams died with him,” she said. 

“He always told me he doesn't want to work for another man, he was driven. We are traumatised. We can't do anything.”

Makhoba also alleged the police were slow to respond to the scene.

“Police arrived very late. We were in the streets with the dead bodies. We didn’t even sleep. We are numb. There’s a lot of crime in the area but no-one takes it seriously.

“The community knows these people but I think most won’t be able to point them out because they fear for their lives.”

TimesLIVE


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