On February 19, Md Dulal, 45, a Bangladeshi national, was shot dead in his shop in Nomzamo, Mlungisi in what residents called a professional hit.
Neighbours said they heard gunshots just after 8pm and went to check the shop where they found Dulal in a pool of blood.
“I was with my daughter when we heard two gun shots. We ran outside the house but there was no one in sight. We found no one outside. When we went inside the shop we found Dulal lying on the floor,” she said.
The neighbour who preferred to remain anonymous said they called a local security company, the councillor and a ward committee member.
When The Rep arrived at the scene, police and emergency personnel had barricaded it and a crowd of residents had gathered.
More residents had gathered further up the street outside the shop of another foreign national. According to an eye witness, community members had pelted the shop because they accused the owner, an Ethopian, of being involved in the alleged hit.
Meabu Naser, nephew of Dulal, said his uncle lived alone in the shop and had been running it for seven years. “I got a call after 8pm and we came here. When I arrived at the scene a woman told me two local guys shot him and fled. He was shot twice in the head.”
Naser said he did not know anyone who would want to kill his uncle. According to him nothing was stolen at the shop.
Residents said a meeting had been called following an argument Dulal had with the Ethopian shop owner, whom they identified as Alex. The two were allegedly arguing about a shop Dulal wanted to open in the same street.
Nomsa Chanti, the ward committee member who chaired the meeting, said the argument took place last Monday morning at the house the two were arguing about.
“I was on my way to work when I heard the commotion. I went to check and found Alex with Dulal. When I asked I was told it was about Alex who did not want Dulal to use the house for his shop. Alex offered the owner R10 000 for 10 months not to allow Dulal to the property. The owner refused,” said Chanti.
On Wednesday night angry residents had allegedly pelted two shops owned by Alex with stones. While The Rep was at the scene, a man who was carrying maize meal and a black bag was put in a police van for alleged looting.
“Foreigners are dangerous. I called the meeting because I sensed something bad was going to happen.
“A few years ago Alex had another confrontation with another foreigner he did not want in this area. That time guns were brandished. I spoke to people then and asked if that behaviour was acceptable but no one did anything,” added Chanti.
On Thursday morning Chanti said she found three of her calves poisoned and dead in front of her house.
“I am really disappointed at people. They say I sided with Alex but I wanted to avoid the danger which I perceived was coming,” she said.
Police spokesperson, captain Namhla Mdleleni said in a statement: “Police were summoned to the scene after community members heard gunshots in one of the spaza shops. On arrival they found the victim with bullet wounds in his body and already dead.”
Mdleleni confirmed a case of murder was opened, adding that the motive for the killing was unknown.
“Cluster commander major general Funeka Siganga condemned the shooting and instructed that the perpetrators must be brought to book.”
“Anyone with the information that can assist with the arrest can please contact Lt Colonel Bulelwa Lembese on 0824418178 or 0860010111 and all information will be treated with confidentiality.”
The Rep tried to contact Alex for comment but could not be reach him on his phone by the time of going to print.