Cape Town – “To date, no arrests have been made in connection with my son’s death and I wonder if the South African Police Service cares at all. I haven’t been communicated to, regarding how the investigations are going. All I am left with are wounds in my heart.”
Those are the chilling words of Emilia Zindi, the grieving mother of slain Zimbabwean journalist Mike Chimombe, 37, who was shot dead in Cape Town in June.
At the time of his death, the Harare Polytechnic media school graduate, Chimombe, was not attached to any media house in South Africa but was writing a book. To make ends meet, Chimombe was also working as a cab driver.
Chimombe was fatally shot along Tsaris Street, in Delft. Police say his lifeless body was discovered next to his Toyota Corolla – a version highly disputed by the family.
“The statement given by the police, that his body was found next to his car was totally misleading as the car was found kilometres away from the scene,” said Zindi, who spoke to African News Agency by telephone from Zimbabwe.
“My heart bleeds as I lost not only a son but a father of three whose first child is in form one [Grade 8 equivalent] this year with his second-born child and last child doing grade seven and four respectively,” lamented Zindi.
“He was indeed a responsible son who was working for his kids as he would send fees as well as clothing etc for his family. Being a journalist himself, Mike was in the process of writing a book entitled ‘Guns and South Africans, who is to blame?’
“He even told me at one point that it looks like guns are sold to anyone without processes of questioning why one would need a gun as is the case here in Zimbabwe”.
Zindi – a retired Zimbabwean veteran journalist who is now into farming – said she continues to mourn the death of his first child.
“I am wondering how on earth a country such as South Africa, which is viewed in Europe as one of the most developed African countries has such high incidences of crime, and worse, the killings of innocent people by guns with no arrests at all,” said Zindi
“How on earth can a country with the rule of law, as it is perceived, fail to account for guns which are supposed to be registered with owners known?”
Zindi said she has been left with the massive responsibility of taking care of Chimombe’s family “at a time our [Zimbabwean] economy is in a nose dive”.
The South African Police Service in Western Cape are yet to respond to requests for updates from the African News Agency.
Soon after the shooting – two months ago – Western Cape provincial police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut, told African News Agency that the murder of Chimombe was being probed.
“On Sunday [June 2] at 20:10 a man, who is believed to be a taxi driver, was shot and killed in Tsaris Street, in Delft [Cape Town] by an unknown suspect who is yet to be arrested. His body was discovered next to his Toyota Corolla,” Traut said at the time.
“The circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated. The motive is unknown, however robbery is not ruled out.”
Chimombe’s body was repatriated from South Africa to Zimbabwe, where he was buried.
Although the Consulate of the Republic of Zimbabwe says on its website that, “no body shall be repatriated to Zimbabwe without clearance from the Consulate” it remained unclear as to what, if any, assistance Zindi could expect in securing justice for her slain son.
Zimbabwe ambassador to South Africa, David Hamadziripi, could not be reached for comment.
Last month, SA Police Minister Bheki Cele announced the deployment of members of the South African National Defence Force to the streets of crime hotspots in Cape Town following a string of murders in townships in the city.
This week, according to Western Cape Premier Alan Winde and Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz, weekend murder statistics for the metro region have shown an increase from last weekend, but a declining trend from previous pay day weekends.
Winde said a total of 46 people were murdered over the weekend, with 21 shootings, 20 stabbings and five murders by other causes, showing an increase from the 25 murders recorded by the province’s forensics services last weekend.
He said there were also several reports of shootings in which residents were injured. Among those shot and injured were two children aged six and 16.
African News Agency (ANA)