Westbury: A place where killing is normal

Residents bury a victim of gang wars every weekend

07 October 2018 - 00:04 By GRAEME HOSKEN and POLOKO TAU

Eldred Fredericks sits nervously on an empty crate, brushing tile and cement dust from his face.
At 73, the builder has seen drug dealers painfully kill off Westbury, west of Johannesburg. In March his son Selwyn, 37, was shot dead blocks away from the family's tiny flat.
"It's something you never get over, helplessly watching your son bleed to death."
Fredericks's house is close to the outdoor passageway where Westbury mother Heather Petersen was shot dead last week. She was caught in a shoot-out between rival drug pedlars.
For Westbury residents, Petersen's killing was the final straw. Hundreds vented their anger in violent protests this week. Police minister Bheki Cele visited the scene.
On the day she died, Petersen kissed her husband Reuben goodbye. When he saw her again, she lay dead in the street, just 60m from their home.
"I could not even get close to hold her . it was a crime scene, I was told. I stood by and waited for about three hours before her body was removed," said Reuben Petersen.
Heather had accompanied her 10-year-old niece to fetch a school report. On their way home they were caught in crossfire. Heather was killed and the niece slightly wounded in a leg.
Petersen said he never thought much about the sound of gunshots "until you lose a loved one"...

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