Bheki Cele: ‘We are not looking at any political faces’

Minister of Police, Bheki Cele and his delegation visiting a bereaved family in KwaZakhele, Gqeberha. PICTURE: SAPS.

These are the words of the Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele, who, along with the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS), General Fannie Masemola, led a delegation of various experts from the organisation to the scene of a mass shooting in Gqeberha.

On Sunday, January 29, a celebration of life turned into a loss of lives in KwaZakhele, Gqeberha, when eight people were killed at a birthday party by two gunmen who went on a shooting spree.

Minister Cele urged people to not push them to look at politics on the matter. “We are not looking at any political faces; we are looking at criminal faces. We don’t care who you are, we don’t care what you are and don’t push us to that way. Sometimes people push you go that direction to deviate and take you away to the real target,” said Minister of Police speaking to the media.

He continued and said, “The brutality that was here you can see clear that those people that came here wanted people dead. Shutting down families, killing brothers, friends that were here. You could see the kind of people that were here.

“That tells you that those criminals have an issue, but they also have a case to answer and that is upon us. We are passing condolences, but we will be bringing back what happened, by who and why.”

At this point, preliminary investigation has revealed that the owner of the house was celebrating his birthday between 5:15pm and 5:30pm when two unknown gunmen entered the yard on Makanda Street in KwaZakhele and began shooting at the guests.

Seven people (3 females and 4 males) were killed, while another four people (2 females and 2 males) were shot and taken to the hospital for treatment. One of the victims died as a result of his injuries in the hospital, bringing the total number of fatalities to eight. The house’s owner was among the dead.

The victims were, the owner of the house, Vusumzi Sishuba (51), Andile Sishuba (52), Kholekile France (54), Mbuyiseli Mboya (64), Nomatamsanqa Mandla (58), Liyema Poro (20) and Nandipha Koliti (42). The identity of the eighth deceased male has yet to be determined.

Two of the injured, a male and a female, remain hospitalised, while the third, a male, was discharged on Monday of this week.

While an investigation into the circumstances surrounding this attack is underway, police have launched a manhunt for the suspects. At this time, no arrests have been made.

The Provincial Organised Crime Investigation is looking into a murder case, eight counts of murder, and three attempted murder cases.

A sister of two of the deceased spoke to the media about her loss. Chinese Tys had two brothers killed, one of whom was the house owner. “As a family, the information that we have is quite sceptic. We have taken a concerted decision that says we don’t know anything. All that we know is that our two brothers (Andile and Vusumzi) and their friends have been shot and died on the scene,” said Tys.

She concluded by saying, “As this family we want to extend a word of condolences to those families who also lost their loved ones, we don’t know, there was a shooting, that’s all we know.”

Lieutenant General Nomthetheleli Mene, the Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner, has condemned the incident. Lieutenant General Mene described the killings as cowardice and a blatant disregard for human life, and she has directed the team of investigators to track down and apprehend the perpetrators as soon as possible.

She also urged the public to come forward with any information and to not harbour the criminals. “These victims were killed by criminals, and we will not rest until we find out what happened and who was responsible for these callous and cold-blooded attack on these unsuspecting victims,” Mene said.

Anyone with information about the suspects or who can help identify the victims or locate their next of kin is asked to contact the Provincial OCI, Detective Captain Sitole, at 082 457 2812 or Crime Stop at 086 00 10111.