Police officers accused of killingyoung mother

The situation in New Crossroads was described as tense but under control last Friday, with this burnt truck and the remains of barricades serving as stark reminders of the earlier rioting.

The family of a New Crossroads woman who was allegedly shot dead by the police have called for calm after riots rocked the township following her death.

Phumza Pita’s family say they are worried about the resurgence of violent protests in the area last week after Koornof Street was barricaded with burning tyres and rubble and vehicles were stoned.

Police have battled to contain the wave of rage.

The 31-year-old mother was allegedly pepper-sprayed, slapped in the face and shot dead by police on Saturday March 4 after she questioned their conduct as they tried to close a local shebeen.

Ms Pita’s uncle, Masixole Pita, was also shot and wounded and broke his arm, during the scuffle.

The killing ignited the community and people took to the streets, accusing the police of brutality and murder.

On Friday March 10, the situation remained tense following protests. Barricades and torched cars were still evident in some streets.

In an interview with Vukani, family spokesperson Nomawethu Nqonji said the family was worried about the violence and they could not prepare properly for Ms Pita’s funeral.

She urged the community not to participate in activities that might place the family in conflict with the law and in a situation where they could not bury Ms Pita.

“The case has been reported and it is with the police as we speak,” she said.

“Obviously, we cannot be happy with the death of our daughter, but at least there is something happening. We are communicating with police management on the case.”

Ms Nqonji said they were grateful for the community’s support and felt their anger.

Ms Nqonji’s brother, Mzoxolo, echoed her sentiments and appealed for calm.

He said it was time for the law to take its course.

“Investigations are in process. We have met the police and we are continuing with meetings. So we appeal for calm,” he said.

New Crossroads religious leader Apostle John Sawutana said he felt the family’s and community’s pain, but cautioned against thugs exploiting the situation.

“Thuggery has also come into the whole thing.

“We have noticed that criminals are taking advantage of what is happening.

“We understand young people’s anger, but they need to be vigilant because thuggery has come in. Innocent trucks with loads of beer and food were robbed for nothing. Those were criminals,” said Mr Sawutana.

Ward 38 councillor Luvuyo Zondani condemned police behaviour. He said police should be the last to shoot at people.

“People are angry, but have now calmed down. They also realised that vandalism is not right, so now they are protecting their assets and properties.

“The mood is tense but under control,” he said.

Vukani contacted the Gugulethu police for comment. Station spokeswoman Constable Sindiswa Ngqele said she would get back to us by 10am on Wednesday, but we had not still had not heard from her by the time this edition went to print.