A man was shot and wounded when he went looking for a stolen television in Khayelitsha.
Mzimkhulu Nobomvu, 62, a leading member of the B Section Crime Unit was hit in the shoulder when the suspected TV thief opened fire on the car he was travelling in with fellow patrollers.
A young woman linked to the suspect was also wounded. She is recovering at Tygerberg Hospital.
Members of the unit say they were ambushed by the man, whose name is known to Vukani, when they visited his home in search of the television, on Sunday February 4.
The man allegedly opened fire on the patrollers as they drove away from his home in A Section with a “replacement television.”
A livid Mr Nobomvu said they had been responding to a complaint from a resident whose home had been burgled earlier in the week.
The unit’s investigation had led it to two of the alleged perpetrators, who had, in turn, identified the house in A Section.
Accompanied by the young woman, believed to have been one of the burglars, the patrollers had gone to the house, but the stolen TV wasn’t there.
Mr Nobomvu said there had been at least five televisions in the house.
“We decided to take another one as a replacement,” he said.
Then as they had prepared to leave, another vehicle, belonging to the suspect’s friend, arrived.
“He (the suspect) pulled out a firearm and started shooting at us randomly,” said Mr Nobomvu, who was sitting in the back of the car. He was hit in the shoulder, while the woman was also hit in the back.
They were both taken to the Khayelitsha District Hospital.
The woman was transferred to Tygerberg Hospital.
“It is by the grace of God that we made it. The car was riddled with bullets,” said Mr Nobomvu. “I get emotional whenever I think about this.”
Bonginkosi Godlwana, who was driving the car, said he thought someone had lit firecrackers. When he realised they were gunshots he raced to Lingelethu police station for help.
“ We were very lucky to survive,” said Mr Godlwana.
Despite their near-death experience, members of the unit have vowed to continue fighting crime.
Lingelethu Police spokeswoman, Sergeant Xoliswa Nyalambisa, said police had arrested a suspect in connection with the shooting and an investigation was ongoing.
The accused appeared in the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday last week, where he was denied bail.
He appeared again on Tuesday February 20.
He has been remanded in custody until Wednesday April 4 for his next court appearance.
Sergeant Nyalambisa said police had a good working relationship with the community of B Section and had made the area a “key priority” to root out crime and avert incidents of vigilantism.
“We don’t want people to take the law into their own hands,” she said.
Since the shooting, Sergeant Nyalambisa said there had been threats to set people’s homes alight.
“We are monitoring the situation,” she said.
“We cannot fight crime alone as the police. We need all the support from the community,” she added.