Mayhem as tavern is looted, cars torched after brothers shot by owner

20 May 2019 - 12:14 By Nonkululeko Njilo and Nico Gous
Two brothers were shot, one fatally, on Sunday during an argument in a tavern in Limpopo. File photo
Two brothers were shot, one fatally, on Sunday during an argument in a tavern in Limpopo. File photo
Image: 123RF/ Iurii Konoval

A police officer was arrested after a shooting incident involving two brothers, leaving one dead and the other critically injured, during a quarrel at a tavern in Limpopo.

The incident occurred in the early hours of Sunday at Makosha village in Giyani and the weapon involved allegedly belonged to the policeman's wife.

Capt Dennis Nghunyule, 55, who owns a tavern in the village, allegedly had an argument with patron Oscar Mkhabela, 22, before killing him with a pistol.

"When the brother of the deceased [Walter Mkhabela, 26] interfered, he was also shot and wounded and is receiving treatment at a local hospital," Limpopo police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo said on Monday.

Shortly after the incident, the local community mobilised and stormed the tavern, looting liquor and other valuables before setting the building alight. They also torched four vehicles belonging to the family of the policeman, police spokesperson Col Moatshe Ngoepe said earlier.  

"A retired police officer who allegedly attempted to scare the crowd away by discharging his private firearm was assaulted and disarmed. He was also admitted to hospital. The firearm was handed over to the Giyani police station," said Ngoepe.

Two police vehicles were then damaged when their occupants intervened to calm the situation.  

Nghunyule appeared in the Giyani Magistrate’s Court on Monday and will remain in custody until May 27 for his bail application.

Suspects, aged between 22 and 33, have since been charged with public violence.

Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Nneke Ledwaba ordered investigators to leave no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of the incident.

Ledwaba also condemned the violent acts committed by the community. "Community members are urged to report any form of criminality to the police and desist from taking the law into their own hands," said Ledwaba.

Local residents charged with public violence are expected to appear soon at the Giyani Magistrate's Court.