Cop shoots passerby in Covid-19 raid gone wrong

Nombuyiselo Gangathi, 50, said she had been having sleepless nights since the drama.
Nombuyiselo Gangathi, 50,  said she had been having sleepless nights since the drama.
Image: Elvis Ntombela

A Stutterheim police officer is in hot water after "accidentally" shooting and wounding a 32-year-old woman in Kubusi Township on Sunday afternoon with live ammunition.

The Independent Police Investigating Directorate (Ipid) is investigating a case of discharging a firearm.

The mother of  Nolukholo Mgangatho said police officers visited them at their home a day after the incident to say: "We are sorry, we shot your daughter by accident."

Nombuyiselo Gangathi, 50,  said she had been having sleepless nights since the drama.

"They used live rounds on my daughter. It is not clear when she is going to be discharged," Gangathi said.

Her daughter was walking from a spaza shop when she was hit by the bullet, she added.  

Provincial police spokesperson colonel Sibongile Soci said police had no knowledge of the supposed apology. 

Soci said Mgangatho, who is nursing a bullet wound on her left leg, was shot during a raid at a tavern where patrons "attacked" police over newly imposed time restrictions.

Taverns, clubs and restaurants selling liquor were required to close at 6pm in a bid to contain the coronavirus. 

DispatchLIVE visited Frere Hospital on Tuesday in an attempt to speak to Mgangatho but a nurse, a doctor and two security guards barred the reporter from entering the orthopedic ward. A nurse, who cannot be named, said Mgangatho could not even be wheeled out to meet the reporter in the gardens of the hospital.

She confirmed the woman had been shot. 

In a statement to DispatchLIVE this week, Soci said: "SAPS can confirm that Stutterheim members visited a tavern at Kubisi village, Stutterheim on Sunday March 22 at between 2.30pm and 3.30pm to enforce the Covid-19 regulations when a shot was fired after members were allegedly attacked by the patrons."

Soci would not be drawn into responding to further questions

"It is not the policy of the SAPS to divulge operational information. All cases on conduct by the SAPS members are investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate. "

She added: "SAPS bears no knowledge of any delegation that visited the home of the mother to apologise."

Ipid spokesperson Seisa Sontaga said: "Ipid confirms that we received the matter and will be investigating it. At this point and time we haven't made any arrest."