'Trigger happy police shot at boys twice' before Julies died: witness

05 October 2021 - 18:31
Simon Scorpion Ndyalvane, left, Caylene Whiteboy and Vorster Netshiongolo during an earlier court appearance. File photo.
Simon Scorpion Ndyalvane, left, Caylene Whiteboy and Vorster Netshiongolo during an earlier court appearance. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times/Alaister Russell

Two of the police officers charged with murdering Nathaniel Julies allegedly shot at people at a tuck shop on two separate occasions before the fatal shooting of Julies, the high court in Johannesburg heard on Tuesday.

Const Mandla Dumisane Sithole testified on Tuesday that he ended up in the same vehicle as Const Caylene Whiteboy and Sgt Simon Ndyalvane on the evening of the fatal shooting in Eldorado Park on August 26 2020.

Whiteboy, Ndyalvane and Sgt Vorster Netshiongolo are charged in connection with the murder of the 16-year-old, who had Down syndrome.

Whiteboy and Ndyalvane pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of murder. Ndyalvane and Netshiongolo also face counts of unlawful possession of ammunition. All of the accused also face counts of defeating the ends of justice, while Netshiongolo faces a count of perjury.

Sithole, who was a student constable at the time, testified that he got into the police double cab bakkie driven by Ndyalvane where he, Whiteboy and other constables were passengers. Sithole said he had asked for a ride from the Eldorado Park police station because Ndyalvane was going to buy food.

Sithole said Ndyalvane explained that he wanted to attend to a complainant in nearby Freedom Park.

Before Ndyalvane could attend to that complaint, he picked up Whiteboy from where she lived in Eldorado Park.

Sithole said before the police vehicle arrived at the complainant's home in Freedom Park, they passed a Somalian shop and there were people outside, a mix of young boys and adults.

“And then accused 2 [Ndyalvane] stopped the car and then accused 1 [Whiteboy] took a shotgun and shot at those boys standing outside the Somalian shop,” said Sithole.

He said the shotgun was loaded with rubber bullets.

Though he did not remember how many shots were fired, it could not have been more than five from a distance of about 10m.

Some of the people Whiteboy had allegedly shot at were buying from the Somali shop and others were milling about.

“After hearing the shots, people ran away.”

Sithole said there were no attempts to arrest these people before they were shot at. He said there was no threat to the police before shots were fired.

Ndyalvane then drove to the complainant's house, but the complainant was not found.

The police returned to the Somalian shop and the boys were still there.

“That is when [Ndyalvane] shot at those boys. He shot at the boys. He followed them with the car and shot at them.”

After those shootings, which did not lead to any injuries, Ndyalvane drove the police vehicle to a various food outlets before parking opposite a block of flats in Eldorado Park, where Sithole testified how Julies was shot.

After Julies was shot, Ndyalvane picked him up, put him in the back of the police vehicle and took him to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital where he was certified dead.

Sithole said after the death of Julies, Ndyalvane asked the SAPS members to leave for the police station with the vehicle he had driven and said he would leave with colleagues he had called for assistance.

Sithole said Ndyalvane had informed the student constables that he had phoned Netshiongolo who said he would help in the matter.

"[Ndyalvane] said accused 3 [Netshiongolo] and his guys will handle the matter and will place live ammunition on the scene,” said Sithole.

The trial continues.