Two hijackings in 24 hours

Over the space of 24 hours a Metro police officer was shot at eight times and a bystander died after being shot in the head while trying to help a woman who was being hijacked in Mitchell’s Plain earlier this week.

Metro police officer Constable Mqondisi Mkhontwana, 42, is fighting for his life in hospital after being ambushed and shot at eight times at the intersection of Eisleben Road and Highlands Drive, on Sunday March 19, shortly after 9pm while on his way home to Mandalay.

Constable Mkhontwana was shot at through the right-hand side of his car with three of the shots injuring him.

Provincial police spokesman, Captain FC Van Wyk, said the circumstances surrounding the incident were still being investigated and that an attempted murder docket had been opened.

The officer was rushed to Melomed Gatesville Hospital in a critical condition. He was deemed stable after undergoing emergency surgery.

In a separate incident, an attempted hijacking at the robot on the corner of Swartklip Road and Auber Avenue, in Mandalay, on Monday March 20, at 3.40pm, led to a bystander being fatally shot.

Ian Jooste, project co-ordinator of the Lentegeur Community Police Forum (CPF), told the Plainsman he had been driving from work on Monday March 20 when he came across the scene.

Mr Jooste arrived on the scene at 4pm and said the attempted hijacking took place at 3.40pm. “A woman who was driving a silver Corsa Lite was accosted by suspects when she stopped at the robot. A tussle ensued and that is when a male bystander came to her rescue.

“I was told by people on the scene that the suspects got away with the car but later abandoned it along Swartklip Road and fled on foot.”

According to Mr Jooste, the bystander had been shot in the head trying to help the victim. He was still on the scene when the seriously injured man was taken to hospital by ambulance. He later died in hospital from his injuries.

“There have been quite a few incidents of attempted hijacking in Mandalay over the last couple of months,” said Mr Jooste.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services, said Constable Mkhontwana, who is based at the Metro police offices in Philippi, was off-duty at the time of the incident and had been driving his private car.

“At this stage, the matter is being investigated by police and the case is sub judice. He has been hospitalised, and we wish him a speedy recovery. We appeal to eyewitnesses to please come forward as an attack on any police official is deemed as an attack on the state,” he said

Mr Smith said the City of Cape Town would not provide particular information as the matter was being investigated.

Constable Mkhontwana was not the first victim to fall prey to hijackers in the area. Eight months ago, City of Cape Town law enforcement officer Julian Davidson, 30, from Colorado Park, was shot and killed while sitting in a patrol car in Lower Crossroads, in Philippi (“City offers reward to catch cop killers,” Plainsman, August 10 2016).

Mr Jooste, who has been living in the Mandalay area for the past 30 years, said he was forming street committees in Mandalay.

“It’s important for us to form street committees, especially due to the crime in the area. It’s important to spread crime awareness in order to make residents more vigilant and to have control over our streets. Many residents don’t even know who their neighbours are. We also tackle municipal issues such as blocked drains and streetlights that need repairs.”

He said burglaries, hijacking and armed robberies were common in the area. “We have also noticed a slight increase in the number of kidnapping cases. Recently we were informed about two attempted on kidnappings in the area.”

Mr Jooste said criminals were becoming more brazen. “House break-ins usually occur when people are at work, but, lately, residents are being accosted in their homes during the day at gunpoint”.

Strandfontein father of two, Grant Fredericks, was shot in the back by hijackers in Milano Street in San Remo, Strandfontein, on September 20 last year, even after he willingly handed over his car keys. The Daily Voice reported that the hijackers fled in Mr Fredericks’ VW Polo after the attack at a tuck shop and used it in an attempted robbery at a jewellery store at a Claremont shopping mall. Police arrested the five men after the foiled robbery.

Dr Anton Diedericks, deputy principal of the Equestrian Academy of Cape Town High School, in Kuils River, was also shot dead in what appears to have been a botched hijacking, while dropping off a sick pupil in Mandalay, on Tuesday October 18 last year (“Shot dead after good deed,” Plainsman, October 26 2016).

Eleanor Wyngaard, a 45-year-old administrator at the Metro South Education District, was killed by hijackers in front of her Tenessee Street home in Westridge on July 20 last year (“Tribute to hijack victim,” Plainsman, July 27 2016).