Captain Thulani Zwane said five women travelling home from a wedding in a Mercedes-Benz were shot at by heavily armed men. Two of the passengers in the vehicle were shot. According to police, one woman was killed instantly while another died later in hospital. Three other women are recovering.
A further nine people were killed in an accident when a kombi, travelling on the same road, tried to avoid the shooting. Four taxi passengers died at the scene and five died in hospital later that day.
Shortly after this incident, five people were shot dead at a car wash in Ezakheni’s B-Section in Ladysmith.
All the incidents happened on Saturday
Zwane said a Mercedes-Benz with five occupants had been travelling along Peters Road and was followed by a VW Polo.
“Occupants of the VW Polo opened fire towards the Mercedes which was carrying five women on their way home from a wedding. As a result of the shooting, the Mercedes lost control. One person died at the scene and four others were injured and taken to hospital,” he said. â??Another woman died at hospital, and three are recovering.â?
Police think that a case of mistaken identity was to blame for the deadly sequence of events.
No arrests have yet been made
This incident was followed by another accident on the same road.
“A kombi that was following the two vehicles [the Mercedes and the Polo] had a head-on collision with an oncoming truck.”
Zwane said the kombi driver was trying to avoid the shooting when the accident happened.
Four occupants of the kombi died on scene and several other passengers were taken to hospital.
“Later, five others died in hospital,” said Zwane.
Five men at a car wash were killed later that afternoon
“The five people, all men, were sitting at the car wash around 6.30pm yesterday when occupants of a [Toyota] Avanza opened fire towards them,” said Zwane.
“All five were fatally wounded.”
Police found spent cartridges of R5 rifles and 9mm pistols at the scene.
“The motive is unknown and no arrests have been made.”
Zwane said it was unclear if the shooting was linked to another shooting incident in Ladysmith earlier in the day.
10 counts of culpable homicide were opened
KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu expressed shock on Sunday at the incidents.
“We [government] are lost for words and we send our condolences to the families of the deceased,” he said.
“We condemn the brutal nature of crime that has been committed. I am in constant contact with the MEC for transport and community safety Willies Mchunu who is in Ladysmith today to ascertain exactly what caused this tragedy.”
Mchunu said he viewed the violence in Ladysmith as “intolerable”
“We will do everything in our power to ensure that the recurrence of such destructive behaviour is nipped in the bud.
Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Mmamonnye Ngobeni said she was saddened by the news and sent her condolences to the affected families.
â??We appeal to the members of the community to work with the police in solving these cases by providing information that will lead to the arrest of the perpetrators,” she said.
Mchunu will dispatch a team to investigate the incidents
Community safety MEC Willie Mchunu dispatched a team, consisting of transport head of department Sibusiso Gumbi, management from the department of community safety, and Ladysmith mayor Vincent Madlala to look into the incidences.
“I have received a briefing from the team which was in Ladysmith today [Sunday] and it is clear that the community is in fear after these two incidents,” Mchunu said in a statement.
“The modus operandi makes it difficult, at face value, to conclude that the two shootings incidents are not related,” he said.
Mchunu would visit the area on Monday and meet with the community and police.