COVERED in a blanket amid mud and puddles, gunshot victim Wiseman Hadebe’s bullet riddled body lay in plain view of community members in the Umhlanga area in Ngwelezana yesterday morning.
Hadebe, a crane driver for Transnet Freight Rail (TRF), had been waiting for the company service driver to pick him up for work when two unknown gunmen appeared and opened fire on the 37-year-old, brazenly murdering him in cold-blood.
The incident occurred at 9:25am in front of Emzini Wezinsizwa Tavern, close to Sizabantu Bus Stop, when the Transnet Toyota Quantum arrived to pick up Hadebe as it would do every morning.
According to police the murder was carried out by two men who had been travelling in a white Ford Ranger with an ND registration.
This information was corroborated by a number of witnesses at the scene of the crime, one being a traumatised female street vendor who sell mealies in the area.
She said two young gunmen opened fire on the victim.
‘One said ‘here is this dog’, and shot him in front of me.
‘The victim was about to reach for the taxi door handle when he was shot in the back.
‘He turned towards the two men and that’s when they sprayed him with bullets.
‘Once they had killed him, they realised I had seen everything and one turned towards me.
‘He swore and threatened that I would be next, and that’s when I ran for cover into a nearby shack.
‘I have never seen someone being shot in front of me and don’t think I will be able to conduct my business in that place ever again.
‘Every day I pass the scene I will be reminded of how they killed a young man like a dog and how I almost followed him.’
According to the vendor, Hadebe was new in the area and would buy mealies from her almost every day.
‘He was a nice young man, very down-to-earth, and that’s why it’s confusing that someone would want him dead,’ she said.
Other locals who were inside the tavern during the shooting said they thought the tavern was under attack and took cover under tables in the shebeen.
‘The sound of gunshots echoed across the area and I thought we would all die.
‘There was chaos in the tavern as we went under the table, only to find out the shooting was outside,’ said a patron.
TRF spokesperson, Mike Asefovitz, said the organisation was saddened to hear of the death of Hadebe, who had been a loyal employee for 12 years.
‘We mourn the passing of one of our dedicated employees and express our sincere condolences to his grieving family at this time, said Asefovitz.
Empangeni police have launched a manhunt for the two suspects.
Police and SAPS forensic investigators collect evidence at the scene where a number of spent cartridges could be seen next to Hadebe’s body