A shootout at the Mall of Africa sent shoppers and innocent bystanders running for their lives at around 2 pm Wednesday afternoon on the 4th of May and led to 53 people being arrested. The Mall of Africa had barely been open for a week when the shooting occurred. Since the opening, police have been regularly patrolling the area. While they were patrolling, police heard multiple gunshots and were able to quickly get to the chaotic scene. Captain Tsekiso Mofokeng of the South African Police Service in Gauteng, says people were running away from the shooters in every direction. “People were running up and down and the police made it worse because those that were involved in the fighting, also started to run, so we identified most of them.”
Police say the shooting started as an altercation between two taxi associations and quickly escalated. One woman, an innocent bystander, was shot in the upper body by a stray bullet. One man, who investigators say belonged to a taxi association was shot in the lower portion of his body. Both are expected to survive. A forensics team was called to search for bullet cartridges and other evidence within a 200 meter radius. As dozens of suspects laid on the ground, the forensics team swabbed their mouths. Samples from all the suspects will be used to determine if they are wanted for any other crimes besides their involvement in the shootout. Eight firearms were confiscated.
Captain Mofokeng says a Taxi Team has been established within SAPS to investigate incidents like this. There will be repercussions from the shootout that will have a long term effect on taxi service at the mall. Captain Mofokeng says, “There will be some suspensions of some taxi activities within the taxi industry that will be issued by the police and the Metro.”
The suspects in this case are facing a variety of charges including attempted murder, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition, and public violence. They will appear before a judge in the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court.