The family of Alizwa Makhanda, who was brutally gunned down almost a month ago, says they are in the dark regarding the investigation into the killing of their child (“Girl gunned down”, Vukani, January 26).
The seven-year-old from Shukushukuma informal settlement, in Site C, Khayelitsha, was shot, allegedly by a Somali shop owner, a few metres from her home, on Wednesday January 18.
Two other people were injured.
It is alleged, the well-know shop owner went on a shooting spree after a fall-out with a customer.
In pursuit of the customer, the shopkeeper allegedly shot and killed Alizwa. She was buried in Queenstown, Eastern Cape, on Saturday January 28.
Despite the suspect being known to the community and being in the area every day, Alizwa’s family say there has been no progress in the case. In an interview with Vukani, on Monday February 13, Alizwa’s grandmother, Ntombizanele Pika, said they were still traumatised by the child’s death. She said the family would love to have closure on the matter, but that that would happen once the perpetrator had been arrested.
She added that the reports of the suspect walking the streets freely, while an innocent Alizwa’s body laid six feet underground made it even more difficult for the family to accept her death.
“Not a single day goes by without us talking about her. She was such a lovely and a talkative child,” said Ms Pika.
“We want this man to be arrested so that we can know exactly what happened. The saddest part is that she died without having been sick.”
A laminated photograph of Alizwa hangs on the refrigerator door as a reminder of a life cut short.
Another family member, Fundiswa Pika, who is also a residents’ committee member, said the family felt “hurt and disappointed” by police’s apparent lack of action on the case.
She said the last time the family spoke to the investigating officer was shortly after Alizwa’s death. “We have not heard a thing from them since then.”
Fundiswa said she had heard numerous reports of the suspect having been seen and that it was “mind boggling” that police could not arrest him.
“The man drives up and down as if nothing happened,” she said.
As a result of the incident, Somali shop owners had been forced to close their businesses and move out of the area. Since then, said Fundiswa, they had approached the community to be allowed to re-open their shops, but this was not allowed.
“We don’t want them here. A lot of things involving them have happened in this community. We do not know what else would happen if they moved in here again,” she said.
Acting station commissioner **AT WHICH POLICE STATION**, Colonel Bongani Mtakati, said because the suspect was not a South African, with no “proper background” it was difficult for police to execute an arrest. However, he said,
police were working tirelessly to apprehend the accused.
“Since that day we have been working hard to arrest this guy, but the Somalis are protecting each other,” he said.
He added that at least 11 firearms, mostly from Somalis, had been confiscated since Alizwa’s death. “The problem is that we do not know the person we are looking for. We appeal to the community to work with us. We will keep them anonymous. We do not need their names. All we want is the information that could lead to the arrest,” he said.
Colonel Mtakati cited the arrest of the suspects involved in the murder of Bongiwe Ninini as a good example of a police and community partnership.
The men accused of Ms Ninini’s murder were found guilty and sentenced at the beginning of this week. See story on page NUMBER
If you have information that can help police find Alizwa’s killer, call **INCLUDE DETAILS HERE**