Two breadwinners from different households were left incapacitated after they were shot at during a protest on Jakes Gerwel Drive, in Colorado Park, two weeks ago.
Lentegeur police station detectives are investing two cases of attempted murder after Tazleem Adams, 35, from Philippi, and Mogammad Salie Barnes, 51, from Portland, were shot in their left and right legs respectively on Wednesday May 2.
Mitchell’s Plain residents took to the streets on the day after many of them could not get to school or work because a protest by residents of neighbouring Isiqalo informal settlement over electricity became violent with shooting, tyres being burned, an ATM being looted, property being damaged, a fruit and vegetable stall razed to the ground – and the road being closed between Highlands Drive and the R300 during the early hours.
Angry and frustrated, Mitchell’s Plain residents took to the streets to show their dissatisfaction over being inconvenienced and effectively barred from getting to work and school during intermittent protests over the past seven years since the settlement was established.
Among the crowd was Mogamat Tauriq Mohamed, 19, from Bayview, who died after being run over by a taxi during the later protests outside the informal settlement last week.
Mr Barnes, a member of Portland Street Committee Block B, told the Plainsman on Friday May 11, that they were called by neighbouring block watches, living close to Jakes Gerwel to assist at the protest with crowd control.
“The protest was peaceful but residents came out to share their emotion, anger and frustration; that they were not happy and dissatisfied with being kept hostage,” he said. “We have residents trying to earn a living but they could not get to work because of the protest.”
Mr Barnes, who wore his safety patrol jacket, said he was disappointed that the police did not care about the safety of the protesters.
“We tried to convince people to move back and not to commit violence but I was shot at,” he said.
According to his continuity of care record, Mr Barnes had a gunshot wound to his left leg, which fractured his thigh bone.
Mr Barnes, who is not allowed to put strain on his foot for the next month and has to wear a brace for six months, is the breadwinner of 20 people, including his children, their spouses and grandchildren.
He is a contract driver and now has to employ people to do work, which he could have done.
“I do not regret being at the protest but the biggest disappointment for me is the manner in which the police handled the situation,” he said.
Abdoraof Ismail, deputy chairman of the block committee, said they will be referring the matter to an attorney because the police failed to warn the crowd that shots would be fired or stun grenades set off.
“Yes SAPS’ Public Order Police Unit(POP) was on the scene and they needed to disperse the crowd but no warning was given,” he said.
Mr Adams is also self employed and drives a bakkie, which he hires out.
He and his wife Bilqees, 31, have four children, aged between three and 11. They recently bought a house in Philippi and the family is working hard to be self-sufficient.
He was on his way to meet his brother-in-law, who is a mechanic, about his bakkie’s hub and bearing problem.
“Ek wil daar gaan staan het om my mense te support,” he said. “I wasn’t armed and I didn’t see anyone else with weapons. We did not burn tyres,” he said.
Mr Adams was shot in the right thigh and cannot move without wincing.
The Plainsman sent a media enquiry to Groote Schuur Hospital to confirm treatment of both Mr Barnes and Mr Adams, and whether they were struck by rubber bullets or live ammunition.
Alaric Jacobs, Groote Schuur Hospital spokesman, said the preliminary medical report indicated that the wounds sustained were not resemblant of rubber bullets.
He also confirmed that both Mr Barnes and Mr Adams were discharged from the hospital. “Their recovery will be between three to five months,” he said.
Mr Jacobs said the hospital is not obliged to report to the police, when a patient is shot.
“The onus is on the patient to report it and open a case with SAPS,” he said.
Woodlands Welfare Organisation and Mitchell’s Plain Housing Crisis Forum is co-ordinating a donation collection drive for anyone injured during the protest. Raafiqah Ganger, chairperson of the organisation, said they saw a need and were doing their best to help where they could.
She also called all witnesses and those who took videos at the protest to report to Lentegeur police station. “We need those people to come forward so these men can have a solid investigation,” she said.
For more information, call Ms Ganger on 084 242 7998 or deputy chairperson Kaamillah Ismail on 074 505 4954.
Meanwhile, Constable Shaun Abrahams, Lentegeur police station spokesman, said witnesses to the shootings should call the station with information on 021 377 5000.