The South African Police Service (SAPS) has opened cases against mourners who attended the funeral service of uMkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) president Kebby Maphatsoe.
Maphatsoe, who passed away last week due to a heart attack, was laid to rest at the Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg on Sunday.
A video doing the rounds on social media shows his supporters sending him off in a gunfire salute that is alleged to have ended in the injury of an elderly woman and shattered a bedroom window of another.
According to Democratic Alliance (DA) MP James Lorimer, a resident of an old age home in Westdene was hit in the leg by a mystery bullet, which appears to have come from an AK-47.
In neighbouring Montgomery Park, a 9mm bullet smashed through the bedroom window of an 87-year-old man, missing him by about three metres.
“Residents of the surrounding suburbs say gunshots went off during the funeral, and continued for about half an hour, with one barrage of some 50 shots obviously coming from an automatic weapon,” said Lorimer.
“The sheer irresponsibility of firing multiple live rounds into the air in densely settled areas is difficult to believe. The fact that it was at the funeral of a one-time senior member of the ANC government speaks volumes about the type of organisation the ANC has become.”
Lorimer called on the police to conduct thorough forensic tracing to see from which weapons they were fired, with the people who fired them jailed.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo told The Citizen on Monday that the police had opened cases following the proceedings.
“We opened cases, not only for the shooting, but other cases as well. We opened a case in terms of the Firearms Control Act and discharging of a firearm in a built-up area. Also in terms of the disaster management regulations for the number of people that attended the funeral as well as the time they took. Remember there is a time frame for funerals, which is two hours. This funeral went on for almost an entire day. So we opened cases for that as well,” Naidoo said.
He said the police were not aware of the elderly woman’s injury as a result of the gunfire salute.
“It wasn’t brought to our attention,” he said.