27 Oct 2014

How bad can gun crime get in South Africa?

South Africans raise the question of crime in the country following the killing of its national football team captain Senzo Meyiwa in an attempted robbery at a friend’s house.

Senzo Meyiwa

The 27-year-old goalkeeper was killed around 8pm last night after two gunmen entered the property in Vosloorus township near Johannesburg while an accomplice waited outside.

Tributes were paid to the star, who was described as “not an ordinary player” and a “peacemaker” by his club, Orlando Pirates, this morning. Club chairman Irvin Khoza issued a statement at a press news conference, raising the question of violence across the country:

The domestic league postponed this weekend’s derby between Soweto giants Orlando Pirates and Kaiser Chiefs after the murder.

“The match will not happen on Saturday out of respect for Senzo. That’s the right thing to do,” Brand De Villiers, chief executive of the Professional Soccer League, told a news conference.

‘No stone left unturned’

South African President Jacob Zuma released a statement on Meyiwa’s death, saying “words cannot express the nation’s shock at this loss”.

“The law enforcement authorities must leave no stone unturned in finding his killers and bring them to justice,” Mr Zuma said.

The Orlando Pirates footballer was shot in the upper body, police spokesman Brigadier Neville Mallila said. He would not comment on local media reports that Meyiwa was shot in the back while trying to protect his girlfriend.

The three attackers then fled on foot, according to the police service, which offered a reward of nearly 153,000 rand (£8,700) for information leading to arrests in the case.

Brigadier Malila said investigators were treating the incident as an attempted robbery, and a murder investigation was under way. He said no arrests had yet been made and there had been seven people in the house before the two intruders entered. No one else was injured.

Modise Sdwaba, Orlando Pirates fan, said that crime was “really affecting the country”:

In a series of tweets, the South African police said they had “broken normal protocol”:

Sport stars worldwide expressed their condolences, including former Tottenham and Portsmouth midfielder Kevin Prince Boateng and South African cricketer Vernon Philander: