Melville shooting: Bheki Cele says police are following promising leads_1

Police Minister Bheki Cele says although there have been no arrests in connection with the New Year’s Eve shooting in Melville, there have been some promising leads. 

As reported by the SowetanLive, Cele was speaking on Tuesday 14 January 2020 at the Linden police station in Johannesburg, where a firearm dealer, Chris van der Bergh, handed over 298 unwanted guns.

“No arrests have been made but the police are following the leads. We can put our foot down. It’s a question of time until this is resolved,” said Cele. 

“The Poppy’s [shooting], for us, is clearer than the Mary Fitzgerald Square one, which we are also following,” he added. 

Melville shooting 

Chaos erupted in Johannesburg’s party suburb of Melville amid New Year’s Eve celebrations when a drive-by shooting left two people dead and six others in a critical condition.

Revellers who gathered at a popular restaurant on 7th Street welcomed the new year with with a deadly hail of bullets. 

First emergency responders arrived on the scene at around 1:30 in the early hours of Wednesday morning. In the meantime, some victims were rushed to the hospital by their friends. 

Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela condemned the shooting and vowed to track the perpetrators down. Police spokesperson Mathapelo Peters elaborated on the shooting, saying:

“It is reported that a BMW SUV approached from 7th Avenue and suddenly, multiple shots were allegedly fired from the BMW at patrons who were sitting outside the restaurant.

Eight people were shot, two of whom were declared dead on the scene, while six were rushed to nearby hospitals with two of the six in a critical condition.”

Mary Fitzgerald Square shooting 

At Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, just after 2:30 on the same morning, 11 people were wounded after shots were fired at revellers from an elevated platform, suspected to be the nearby M2 double-decker bridge.

Shots were also fired in Doornfontein. Police then reported another death near Melville, but it wasn’t related to the drive-by outside of Poppy’s Restaurant. 

SAPS respond to Melville shooting criticism

Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela has hit back at his critics, though. The no-nonsense top cop defended colleagues and fellow staff, explaining that their resources were stretched to breaking point.

“Now remember during that time of the night you’ll know that our communications system will be clogged; also the network won’t be favourable, but I can assure the people we were all over. Including myself. I was on duty the whole night, so we were around there, the response by the police, it was reasonable because we did have police officers around that particular vicinity – all of us we were on duty.”