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McDonald’s shooting: family suspects police cover-up

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Sister of dead man still in the dark

Photo of vehicle with bullet holes
Police mistakenly shot dead two McDonalds workers on 14 March. This photo shows bullet holes in the vehicle carrying the workers.
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Peggy Mashiyana was shot by police on 14 March. Lying in her hospital bed more than one month later, she says no one has contacted her to update her on the investigation into the shooting.

Mashiyana was coming home from work at the Kuilsriver McDonald’s in the early hours of 14 March in a taxi with other employees. Police mistook the taxi for another vehicle transporting robbers. Two workers, Xolisa Tshabe and Noxolo Skota, were shot dead. Mashiyana said at least six others in the taxi, including the driver, had been injured.

At about 2 am the employees heard gunshots from behind the taxi they were in, Mashiyana said. They did not hear any warning siren or loudspeaker beforehand. When the shots were first fired, Mashiyana said Skota had looked back and told everyone they were being shot at.

Mashiyana remembers feeling something “weird” on her leg, and when she looked down she saw blood. Although she had been shot, she says she felt no pain at first.

She wanted the driver to stop. But the other employees and the driver were afraid that the people shooting at them were hijackers. They did not know the other vehicle was carrying police. She says everyone panicked.

Mashiyana does not remember anything after that. But she says she has found out from others what happened. When the driver stopped the taxi, the other vehicle stopped as well. When police realised the taxi was not carrying robbers they drove away without providing assistance to the wounded, she says.

Mashiyana does not know the extent of her injuries. A supportive device spans most of her left leg and gauze encases her thigh. Near her right elbow, an area of her skin remains puckered, creating a thin, discoloured scar.

Photo of person with injured leg in hospital bed.
Peggy Mashiyana was shot in the leg by police who mistook the taxi she was travelling in for a vehicle carrying robbers.

As of 22 April, Mashiyana says she has not heard from anyone about the status of the investigation. No department has checked up on her since the incident.

She does not know when she will be discharged from the hospital. She is undergoing surgery for a skin graft this week, she says.

Yandiswa Godola, the sister of Tshabe, said the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), which is leading the investigation, was supposed to give her feedback after 30 days. But by 26 April she had not been contacted, she said.

This made her think the IPID was trying to cover up for the police officers involved. “They can’t just expose a colleague,” she said.

Robbie Raburabu, a spokesperson for the IPID, said an investigation into the incident had been concluded, though IPID was “still waiting for different technical reports” before submitting a case to the National Prosecuting Authority.

“[F]eedback to the family members of the deceased persons and other relevant parties including victims is provided progressively and when necessary or upon request,” he wrote in an email.

He confirmed that the IPID was required to update relevant people on the incident every 30 days.

Funeral expenses

Raburabu did not mention if family members or those involved in the incident had been contacted.

Problems with funeral payments have also arisen for family members of the deceased.

The day before Tshabe’s funeral, Saps informed the family that they would pay for the cost, Godola said. But, she says, the family has only received about half of the funeral amount. The funeral was 24 March.

Although she is frustrated with the lack of communication between her family and officials, she added, “Money can’t give my brother’s life back.”

Xolani Skota, the brother of Noxolo, said that “police” told him they would assist with the funeral arrangements before the funeral. The funeral happened without any help from officials, he said. Initially, Xolani Skota had told officials that the arrangements would cost R36,000. However, after interest the funeral cost R48,000.

His family received the R36,000 from officials about two weeks ago, he said, but has not been able to pay the remaining R12,000. “Where are we going to get that?”

While Godola said Saps was assisting her family with funeral arrangements, Xolani Skota was unsure who was assisting his family.

“This office can confirm that the family of the deceased was assisted financially in respect of funeral costs without admission of liability. The details of the assistance is considered to be private between this Department and the families,” said Captain FC Van Wyk, a spokesperson for Saps.

It is unclear whether Van Wyk meant both families or only Godola’s. He has not responded to telephone calls from GroundUp.

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TOPICS:  Human Rights Policing Violence

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