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Slain Absa fraud accused’s family flees after second alleged shooting

Neighbours say a brother of Xolela Masebeni was wounded, wife now in hiding

01 March 2022 - 09:32 By SITHANDIWE VELAPHI
Xolela Masebeni and Athembie Mpani at a previous appearance in the Palmridge court.
Xolela Masebeni and Athembie Mpani at a previous appearance in the Palmridge court.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi/Sunday Times

Slain fraud accused Xolela Masebeni’s family members in Ezibeleni, Komani, fled their home on Monday to a place of safety, fearing for their lives after another shooting allegedly took place at their homestead.

Masebeni, an IT specialist at Absa, was gunned down on Saturday afternoon while sitting with his friends in the homestead’s yard.

He had been accused of swindling Absa out of R103m, which he allegedly deposited into six different bank accounts over four months in 2021.

The 31-year-old was also alleged to have also deposited an amount of R17m into the account of his wife, Athembile Mpani, aged 21.

The couple was arrested and appeared early last month before the Palm Ridge specialised commercial crime court in Johannesburg, and were granted R50,000 bail each.

The couple is alleged to have gone on a shopping spree with the money, buying two properties in Khayelitsha, seven cars and clothing worth R250,000.

When the Dispatch visited their RDP homestead in Ezibeleni on Monday, the gate was locked with three cars in the yard. Neighbours say the family fled the homestead on Monday morning.

A Toyota Avanza with a Cape Town registration, a Volvo hatchback with an Eastern Cape registration and an unknown covered car were spotted inside the locked yard.

The shooting has left neighbours terrified. Some neighbours said they feared all unknown cars passing by the homestead.

A neighbour who spoke to the Dispatch on condition of anonymity said the incident had left their children traumatised.

“I heard about five gunshots on Saturday afternoon. When I went to check outside, I saw people running in opposite directions, saying Xolela had been shot by unknown men.

“We found him lying down and some neighbours quickly called the ambulance.

“He was taken to the local clinic where he died on arrival.

“The whole thing happened fast on Saturday and has left us scared for our lives. What if the perpetrators come and kill the neighbours?” 

Another neighbour said he heard two gunshots during the early hours of Monday when Xolela’s brother was shot. He is currently in a hospital in Komani under police guard.

“We are so shocked by the incidents. It’s as if we are in a movie in this area.

“We worry about lives because we do not know what will happen next,” said the neighbour.

Mpani, who was in the homestead when the shooting took place, has fled to a place of safety together with other family members.

The family said they feared speaking to people they did not know about the matter.

“We do not trust people who are calling us. We are really traumatised. We can only speak to people if there is a police presence.

“It is even difficult to prepare for the funeral under the circumstances. What we want now is our safety,”  a family member said.

Police spokesperson W/O Majola Nkohli said: “Police can confirm they are investigating a case of murder after a 31-year-old man was fatally shot outside his home at Unati Mkefa area, Ezibeleni, on Saturday afternoon.”

Nkohli said Masebeni was sitting in the yard with four friends when two men arrived and opened fire on him.

“It is said Masebeni stood up and approached the two unknown men.  His friends heard several gunshots and started running away.

“Masebeni sustained several gunshot wounds to the upper body and was rushed to the nearest clinic where he succumbed to his injuries.

“It is believed the two armed suspects fled the scene in a silver-grey VW Polo,” Nkohli said.

He said police were investigating the matter and were not willing to share more information about the case as it was “very sensitive”.

No arrests had been made at the time of writing.

DispatchLIVE



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