Tshisole leader Takalani Target Mushavhanamadi was shot at a stokvel at Miluwani on Sunday. Photo supplied.
In yet another shocking and brutal killing that occurred in Vhembe, an alleged high-ranking member of the Jerusalem gang was shot dead, and three other people were injured at Miluwani after three masked gunmen opened fire on them on Sunday (17th).
Rumours have also started circulating that these are revenge killings organised by a man who identifies himself as “John Wick”, a fictional character from a film series of the same name. Wick is a retired hitman seeking vengeance for the killing of his beloved dog.
Sunday’s shooting incident happened at around 21:10 during a stokvel where members of the Jerusalem Stokvel were enjoying themselves at the house of a well-known music administrator. Although the name of the house owner was not officially released, she is believed to manage several top musicians. Allegedly, at least one of them was present during the shooting.
The Jerusalem, BMF, and Tshisole groups are linked to Vhembe’s underground mobs, who are alleged to be behind the spate of most violent crimes in the area.
The deceased, Mr Takalani Target Mushavhanamadi (49) of Duthuni, was a well-known karate instructor, businessman, and member of the Jerusalem group. He was shot multiple times in the upper body and died at the scene.
During the same incident, the 38-year-old Godwin Hasani was shot in the stomach and left hand. A 32-year-old woman, Lorraine Hasani, was shot in the right foot, while Armstrong Chauke (44) was shot in the left leg. The injured are recuperating at an undisclosed hospital.
Limpopo SAPS spokesperson Brig Hlulani Mashaba said three masked suspects arrived at the house and started shooting at the victims. “Afterwards, the suspects randomly fired shots at three motor vehicles belonging to the victims before they disappeared into the darkness on foot. The police and members of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were summoned to the scene, and a 49-year-old male was certified dead upon their arrival,” he said.
Brig Mashaba said that the other three victims had been transported to an unspecified hospital where they had been admitted for medical treatment. “The motive for the incident is so far unknown at this stage, and investigations are ongoing. Police have opened a case of murder, attempted murder, and malicious damage to property,” he said.
The past year has been a very bad period for the local gangs. Among those killed is “General” Thivhileli Masipala Hlungwani (32) of Muledane, who was shot execution-style in the company of his 27-year-old girlfriend at a restaurant at Thavhani Mall along the R524 road in Thohoyandou in April this year. Shortly before the shooting, he had taken over as leader of the group, after the demise of Arno Mudau. His killers have not been found.
Just a month ago, two more members of the same group were also shot execution-style while relaxing at the local Playland Leisure Resort at Muledane. The victims were identified as Mr Lindelani Stephen Nembambula (37) of Mianzwi village and Mr Silas Simango (40) of Tswinga village.
The men were alleged to be members of the Tshisole gang, which had lost prominent members in what is believed to be revenge killings in recent times. The killers in this incident have not yet been arrested.
Ironically, the two recent incidents both happened on a Sunday evening around 21:00.
For many residents, the question is: Who is behind the killings, and is revenge a possible motive? The other question is: Who will be next?
After the killing of Thivhileli Masipala Hlungwani, an unknown man, who identified himself as John Wick, allegedly threatened to clean out all members of the gangs before Christmas. Many are now taking his threats seriously.
Asked why no arrest has been made for the killings, Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba pointed out that members of the community had information that could lead to the arrest of the perpetrators but kept it to themselves. He said the police would not rest until the suspects were all brought to book.
“We have since launched a massive manhunt for the three unknown male suspects, and anyone with information that can assist should contact the investigating officer, Sergeant Rembrandt Nekhavhambe, on 0715111213 or 0159601000 or the crime stop number 0860010111 or the nearest police station or MySAPSApp,” Mashaba said.
(The online article differs in certain aspects from the printed version. At the time of going to print it was uncertain as to exactly which group the deceased belonged to. As more information becomes available, the story may be updated.)
Date:21 December 2023
Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and was a permanent part of the news team until 2019.