‘I can’t close my eyes’: Westbury woman shares moment when 12-year-old was gunned down

Janna Fourie was shot and killed near her home on Friday evening‚ according to police.

Police minister Bheki Cele addresses the media outside Sophiatown police station after gang shootings in Westbury a few months ago.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

A traumatised Westbury woman has opened up on the final moments leading up to the death of a 12-year-old girl who was gunned down in the gang-torn Johannesburg suburb at the weekend.

Janna Fourie was shot and killed near her home on Friday evening‚ according to police.

Gauteng police spokesperson Col Dimakatso Nevhuhulwi said police arrived to find the girl “lying in a pool of blood in the street”.

Nevhuhulwi said a murder case had been opened and that no suspects had been arrested.

Westbury resident Estelle Pietersen was among the few who saw what happened and who knew Fourie from a very young age.

She explained that her family was inside their house when they heard gunshots. “It sounded like it was in the house because my front door was open. And as I came out‚ I saw my son lying on the ground‚ so I thought he was shot.”

He had been pulled to the ground by the wounded girl.

“As she ran into the yard‚ my son was on his way out to buy cooldrink at the shop next door. And she said to him‚ ‘Don’t go out‚ there’s guys with masks and guns shooting outside.’ But he didn’t realise she was shot already and he kept on walking. And as she fell‚ she grabbed him by the feet and he fell. That’s how they missed him.”

“We saw her lying at the gate and as I approached her‚ I started praying and saw blood coming out of the left side of her head.

“I can’t close my eyes because when I do‚ I just see her face in front of me‚” the heartbroken woman said.

She said Janna was well-known to the family as she attended the same school as her granddaughter.

Janna was a grade 6 pupil at Newclare Primary School.

“My granddaughter has to go to a psychologist to be treated. I’m also struggling with anxiety. I’m getting flashbacks of the way my son’s face looked. I’m stressed out as I’m sitting here‚” she said.

Pietersen described Janna as a well-loved child who was humble and a peacemaker. She detailed the young girl’s upbringing and how the entire community loved her.

She said she now feared for her family’s lives.

Janna was buried on Sunday night in accordance with Muslim tradition‚ according to Pietersen. A memorial service will take place in Westbury later this week.

Westbury has been in the news for years due to constant flare-ups of gang-related violence and shootings in the area.

Earlier this year‚ it made headlines again when police minister Bheki Cele announced a “mini-programme” aimed at tackling the issues plaguing the gang-ridden area‚ including gun violence.

This was after two people were killed and 11 others attacked in a matter of days‚ following the death of a local gang leader.

Cele promised to unleash the tactical response team as well as national intervention unit‚ among others‚ during an imbizo held in the area in March.

Nevhuhulwi confirmed that the deployment was still in effect.

In 2018‚ Cele told residents after protests erupted over similar issues that a “special anti-corruption unit is being set up by the national commissioner” to help deal with gangsterism. It remains unclear if the deployment yielded success.

Source: ARENA Holdings.