“The minute that incident happened, Covid-19 became almost non-important and less of a fear, because we are now fearing our law enforcement.”
These are the sobering words of Ntombikayise Amos, the sister of 40-year-old Sibusiso Amos who was killed at his Vosloorus home on 29 March while law enforcement officers – including the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) – were conducting the national lockdown operations.
The unarmed man was allegedly shot at on the veranda of his home.
Three weeks later, his family is still struggling to come to terms with the events of that fateful Sunday, as they never anticipated that their brother would die in such a manner.
Speaking to News24 on Thursday, Ntombikayise said the family was having a difficult time dealing with the trauma, but were taking things one a day at a time. She said an investigating officer from the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) regularly informed them of any developments in the investigation.
“We are taking it an hour at a time and building up the 24 hours. Sometimes you sit and realise that, ‘I’m not going to make it through the day without a memory or a flashback,'” the sister told News24 during a telephonic interview.
Private security worker Siphiwe Ndlovu, 45, was arrested along with an EMPD officer shortly after the incident.
The EMPD officer was, however, later released after IPID said more information was needed to link him to the murder case. The directorate emphasised that the officer’s release did not mean that he was off the hook.
Ndlovu faces charges of the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, as well as four attempted murder charges, after four children were injured in the incident.
He was smoking by the gate
Sibusiso was buried on 7 April at his Vosloorus home.
Recalling the events of the day her brother died, Ntombikayise said she still believed that the officers had enough time to decide not shoot at him, but did so anyway.
Ntombikayise said, when she heard a commotion outside at the gate where Sibusiso had been standing with her aunt, she approached them to find out what was happening.
However, at that stage, her aunt pushed Sibusiso toward the garage away from the gate where the officers were standing. One of the officers then entered the premises, the sister said.
“My aunt then pushed him toward the veranda area and, as I was standing in the area, I pulled him back into the veranda area and closed the slam burglar [gate]. Once it slam locked, he (officer) tried to open it. My cousin was literally smoking by the gate.
“At that stage (when they locked the brother inside), he (officer) could have said, ‘No, they have now locked him inside the veranda of the house, I don’t need to shoot.’ But he decided to shoot,” Ntombikayise said.
Justice must show it cares for life that was lost
Ntombikayise said four children who were inside the house were also injured during the incident, adding that the “officer” then left the premises and drove off.
Ntombikayise said the officer was wearing what “looked like a uniform, although it didn’t look the same as an EMPD uniform”.
“We want to see a justice system that works for [the] people. A justice system that shows it cares about the life that was lost that day, and that he is not just another statistic,” Ntombikayise said.
IPID spokesperson Sontaga Seisa said Ndlovu had appeared in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court last Wednesday and was granted bail of R20 000 with strict conditions.
The matter was postponed to 25 May 2020.
Seisa said investigations linking the EMPD officer were also continuing.
“Once all is tied up, the case will be referred to the National Prosecution Authority for a decision,” he said.