From murder to calls for justice — five must read stories on Dr Abdulhay Munshi

21 September 2020 - 07:07
A bloodied footprint on the tarmac at the scene where Johannesburg anesthetist Dr Abdulay Munshi was gunned down.
A bloodied footprint on the tarmac at the scene where Johannesburg anesthetist Dr Abdulay Munshi was gunned down.
Image: Alon Skuy

Police are investigating the murder of anaesthetist Dr Abdulhay Munshi, 57, who was gunned down on Wednesday in Johannesburg.

Munshi and paediatric surgeon professor Peter Beale were embroiled in a medical court case and charged with culpable homicide for the death of 10-year-old Zayaan Sayed. Sayed died at Netcare's Park Lane Clinic in October last year after surgery.

The two medical professionals were out on R10,000 bail each and were scheduled to return to the Johannesburg magistrate's court in November.

Here are five must-read stories on Munshi's death:

The murder

Police spokesperson Mathapelo Peters confirmed the shooting in Fairwood, near Orange Grove.

Peters urged anyone with information to contact the authorities.

“Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or may have information that could lead to the apprehension of the suspect(s) is urged to report to the nearest police station or call the crime stop number 08600 10111.”

Hit or robbery gone wrong?

 The SA Medical Association's Dr Angelique Coetzee said Munshi's death seemed more like an assassination than a robbery.

She said doctors now fear being victimised.

The Radiological Society of SA expressed concern about the growing number of killings of doctors.

“We are outraged by the brutal murder of Dr Munshi. Doctors travel at all times of day and night to see patients. There are increasing numbers of doctors and paramedics being attacked and killed.

Doctors are already at risk from the diseases they treat, as we have seen in the COVID-19 pandemic. It is even more tragic when they are violently killed while following their calling and serving the community,” said the society in a statement. 

Patient's family denies involvement in Munshi's death

Mohammadh Sayed, businessman and father of 10-year-old Zayaan, denied involvement in Munshi's death. In a statement released through his lawyer, he said allegations made in the media are “irresponsible, reckless and speculative”.

He said he wants the perpetrators to be “brought to justice as soon as possible”.

His legal team will work with the investigators to ensure justice is served in a transparent manner.

Eyewitnesses speak out 

Locals who witnessed the shooting said Munshi was shot five times by a man who did not wear a mask and was driving a dark-grey Mercedes-Benz. They said the suspect rear-ended Munshi's car and fired shots after the doctor stepped out of his car to assess the damage.

A municipal worker, Thabo, who asked for his surname not to be disclosed, said he was cleaning a drain when he heard a loud noise. He heard all five shots and witnessed Munshi collapse to the ground. He said he did not see the killer.

Another witness, Dayton Ramiah, was with his father, a former police officer, when the murder happened. He said the windows of the Mercedes were tinted and it did not have number plates. The vehicle sped away  when they rushed to help Munshi.

“It was horrifying. The man was lying bleeding on top of four pieces of white paper,” Ramiah said.

He said Munshi was hit by a bullet in his right eye, in the chest and twice in his right arm.

Goolam Hoosen, Munshi's cousin, said the family was devastated by his death.

He said they don't want to speculate whether his murder could be linked to the court case. He described Munshi as the pillar of the family and a peace-loving man.

Zweli Mkhize wants justice 

Health minister Zweli Mkhize called on authorities to secure justice for Munshi, and conveyed condolences to his family.

The SA Private Practitioners Forum (SAPPF) said Munshi was kind and dedicated to his patients and profession.

The forum said his murder was unbearable, especially as doctors put their lives on the line in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Dr Munshi was an anaesthetist, one of the disciplines at highest risk for contracting Covid-19. This means he was offering his life for the service of people. This act against him, his family, and the profession at this time of the Covid-19 pandemic makes it more unbearable,” it said.”