21 October 2020
The family of a Port Elizabeth man, whose deadly shooting allegedly led to the petrol bombing and stoning of four houses, are still struggling with the loss of their breadwinner.
They are demanding justice for his death and blame police at Bethelsdorp Police Station for not acting swiftly in the case. Police have refuted the allegation.
On 5 October, Donovan Jenmeker was shot at the Qunu taxi rank where he worked as a taxi conductor. Soon after the 26-year-old died in hospital on 8 October, a group of about 200 people from Pollar Park, petrol bombed four houses in Booysens Park and Marikana. Two of the homes were completely gutted while one was partially burnt and the other had its windows smashed in.
A woman who had witnessed the shooting was approached by the Pollar Park gang, but she had been unable to identify for them who had shot Jenmeker. Her home was one of those torched.
Jenmeker’s mother, Ronwyn Kahari, 53, and brother Cedric Jenmeker, 34, recalled the day of the shooting. Kahari said she heard three gunshots at about 9:30am on 5 October. “I ran inside the house for cover. A few minutes after the shots, Donovan’s taxi driver came to tell me that my son was shot in the stomach.”
Jenmeker was rushed to Livingstone Hospital in a taxi, where he later died. “My son was not a gangster. He was a breadwinner. Every day he would bring me R50. I am unemployed and R50 makes a huge difference,” she said.
Cedric said: “Donovan passed away because the bullet damaged his liver and lungs. When I saw him in the hospital, I just cried uncontrollably. Then started drinking.”
He said the family had left Bloemendal seven years ago to escape gangs. “I couldn’t believe that my brother could die here like that or that his death could spark violence due to the police’s failure to do their job properly,” he said.
On 12 October, four days after Jenmeker’s death, Cedric said he went to Bethelsdorp Police Station to report the incident. “To my surprise, the police were not aware of the shooting. They only opened a murder docket for Donovan after I reported his death. The detective told us that the hospital should have reported the shooting the day my brother was admitted in hospital. The detective ordered the officer opening the case to go with me to Livingstone Hospital and open the case there,” he said.
“I feel sorry for people whose houses were torched and we condemned what happened. We never asked anyone to go and take the law into their own hands. All we want is justice,” he said.
When asked about claims made by Jenmeker’s family, police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said, “The deceased was shot and taken to hospital by private transport. No one reported the incident to police therefore the scene was not attended to by police. Police became aware of the incident only when the deceased family reported his death to them on 12 October.
“The hospital does not open cases when patients are brought in with gunshot wounds. They only provide medical attention. The family should have informed police of the incident on the day of the shooting to start investigations immediately.”
Naidu has urged anyone with information on the shooting to contact Bethelsdorp Detective Warrant Officer Du Toit at 082 442 1663.