‘Cop shot us’ say women lucky to survive attack

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is investigating three cases of attempted murder against a police officer who allegedly shot and wounded three women before turning the gun on himself in Mdantsane on Sunday.

Warrant Officer Thobela Gungutha, 47, allegedly shot his ex-girlfriend Olwethu Mkalipi, 23, of NU13; Lwandisa Gxekwa, 31, of NU3; and NU10 resident Thumeka Ntithini at a popular drinking spot in Mdantsane on Sunday afternoon.

Mkalipi was shot twice at point- blank range while Gxekwa and Ntithini were hit by stray bullets at Micano Tavern at NU15 in an alleged fit of jealous rage. Gungutha had allegedly fired 11 shots.

The three women were treated at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in Mdantsane, while Gungutha was transferred to Frere Hospital, where he is fighting for his life.

Gxekwa told the Daily Dispatch yesterday that she was dancing when she was hit by a bullet in the left leg while Ntithini sustained a bullet wound to the abdomen.

Eastern Cape department of health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said the three victims sustained gunshot wounds and were treated and discharged from Cecilia Makiwane Hospital yesterday.

“The male patient sustained a serious gunshot wound to the head and has since been transferred to Frere Hospital in a critical condition.

“A female patient had a minor gunshot wound to the chest and was treated and discharged.

“Another female patient sustained a gunshot wound to the abdomen. She opted to go home despite doctor’s instructions to stay overnight for observation,” he added.

Mdantsane police spokesman Captain Nkosikho Mzuku, said a Z88 semi-automatic service pistol, a magazine and 11 rounds of ammunition were found scattered around the wounded victims.

While Mzuku said police were still investigating the motive behind the act, Mkalipi said jealousy was the reason behind the attack.

Yesterday Ipid spokesman Moses Dlamini said: “Yes we are investigating the matter. The docket was taken over by Ipid and we are investigating a case of attempted murder”.

Mkalipi said she had obtained a protection order against Gungutha following years of physical abuse by her divorcee boyfriend.

“I dumped him two months ago because he was assaulting me. The final straw was when he hit me with a work baton in front of everyone at the Mdantsane Highway market.

“We were scheduled to appear in court on August 15 after I reported the abuse,” she said.

Mkalipi said moments before Gungutha went on the alleged shooting spree she had received a WhatsApp message from him saying: Ndikujongile (“I’m watching you”).

The Dispatch did not see the message. “I was confused because I could not see him inside the tavern. Later on it became clear that he had been following me and stalking me as I saw him sitting inside his car outside the tavern,” Mkalipi said.

“He was provoking us looking for attention but we didn’t give it to him. He then grabbed a piece of our meat from the table and chewed it before spitting it on the table just to spite us,” she alleged.

She claimed Gungutha went to his car, came back and allegedly fired shots sending patrons ducking for cover, Mkalipi said.

Micano Tavern employee Ayando Khenyana, 23, said he was the one who had prepared the meat for the women.

“That light-skinned guy charged here and opened fire. We all took cover while other people ran towards the door,” he said.

Patron Siphelo Maqoma, 23, said: “I thought we were all going to die. I ran outside and dived under someone’s car. It was chaotic as everyone was running around while others were climbing the tables.”

Another patron, Kinewo Siphamla, 25, said: “The sound of the gunshots is still reverberating in my ears. I ran and hid inside the male toilets until the shooting was over.” — malibongwed@dispatch.co.za

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