Africa-Press – South-Africa. KwaZulu-Natal police have launched a manhunt for unknown assailants who gunned down five people in the Richards Bay CBD on Tuesday morning.
The shooting, which happened at a shopping centre’s parking lot, is believed to be connected to an ongoing drug-related turf war, but the police are still conducting investigations to ascertain the facts around it.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda said: “Information at the police’s disposal indicates that four of the suspects alighted from a vehicle and opened fire [on] the victims.”
He said four of the victims were certified dead at the scene while the fifth succumbed to their wounds at a local clinic.
Netshiunda said the police were looking for at least five suspects who were involved in the attack.
The police have called on anyone with information that may lead to the apprehension of the suspects to contact them.
KwaZulu-Natal has recently experienced several mass shootings and gun-related violence.
In August, gunmen fatally shot seven people and attempted to kill another at Umlazi’s Q section.
In June, seven people were shot dead at the infamous Glebelands Hostel at Umlazi.
In April, gunmen stormed a Pietermaritzburg home and wiped out a family of eight.
Police Minister Bheki Cele has previously flagged KwaZulu-Natal for its high murder rate. Last month, he announced that the province accounted for 17.2% of the country’s contact crime rate between April and June 2023. It recorded the highest number of murder cases during that period, with 1 584 cases reported.
During a provincial crime prevention indaba in August, KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi referred to policing as a “mission impossible” without the adequate participation of community members.
Mkhwanazi previously told News24 that the police had limited resources and could not meet the demand for their services.
“There are 184 police stations in KwaZulu-Natal’s 11 districts. We have a land size of over 94 300km2, with a population of over 11 million … The SA Police Service in the province only constitutes about 24 000 members,” Mkhwanazi said.