Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

Gqeberha shooting: Cele says police can’t guess despite public demanding quick response

'Allow us to do the work... we know everyone is angry,' Police Minister, Bheki Cele told Kwazakhele residents.

Police Minister Bheki Cele has urged the public to give the police space to do their work following a mass shooting in Kwazakhele, Gqeberha.

Eight people were killed when at least two gunmen opened fire on the unsuspecting victims who celebrating a birthday party in Maqanda Street on Sunday.

The incident, which is believed to have taken place between 17:15 and 17:30, also left three people in a critical condition.

‘Processes of law’

Visiting the Eastern Cape on Monday, Cele said some of the family members are pleased with the work that’s already been done to track the suspects.

“Police have responded, they’ve been here and we are quite pleased that the families feel that up until this point the work is already underway.

“We are working on trying to combine the resources of province and [national police] so we are able to work on the matter. We have been briefed. I think we are beginning to establish our direction,” he told Kwazakhele residents.

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“While it’s good to pass condolences, while it’s good to cry with the community, the family, the friends, and all those that are close to them, that is not our core work. Our core function is to find out who did it and put those people in the processes of law.”

Cele dismissed the suggestion that the incident could be political violence against civilians.

“We are not looking at any political faces, we are looking at criminal faces. We don’t care who you are. We don’t care what you are [so] don’t push us [there] because sometimes people push you to that direction to deviate and take away from the real target.”

‘No guess work’

The minister pleaded for patience as police continue to investigate the shooting and the hunt for the suspects.

“Allow us to do the work… we know everyone is angry [and] would have loved that we respond quick. We will request a little bit of space so that we do the work thoroughly and by the time we respond there’s no speculation… there’s no guess work.”

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He further promised swift action to catch the criminals.

“We can clearly see [the suspects] that came here wanted people dead. Shutting down families, killing brothers, and friends that were here.

“You could see the kind of people that were here, and that tells you that those criminals have an issue, but they also have a case to answer – and that’s upon us. We will be bringing back [the exact details of] what happened, by who and why. We need to act faster and decisively,” Cele added.

Enyobeni Tavern

Cele on Monday was also quizzed about Enyobeni Tavern tragedy.

“The Enyobeni issue from the side of the police has been resolved because there are people in court. The police can’t go beyond that.

“The second portion of Enyobeni was more [on the] medical [side] and that’s why the province has given the answers. But the investigations are continuing based on those medical outcomes and more information from the people that are in court,” the minister said.

RELATED: Families of Enyobeni tavern victims lodge complaint with SAHRC

On 26 June 2022, a total of 21 teenagers – nine girls and 12 boys – died at Enyobeni tavern under mysterious circumstances during a party where free rounds of alcohol were allegedly offered.

According to the Department of Health, the official cause of death of the teens was suffocation.

The registered owner of the tavern in Scenery Park, Vuyokazi Ndevu, and her husband, Siyakwamkela, will go on trial on 25 April 2023.

They face charges for allegedly contravening the Liquor Act after the Eastern Cape Liquor Board laid a criminal complaint against them for selling alcohol to persons under the age of 18 years and instructing their staff to sell alcohol to minors.

‘Very awkward’

Meanwhile, Cele was asked about what the police were proactively doing to tackle crime instead of “being reactive”.

“The allegation you make that police only react … those proactive things you would not know about them … And it’s unfortunate that those things that we prevent are things that we don’t come back to talk about.”

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