Only days after mother of seven Elaine Hendricks was shot dead at her family’s shop in Imizamo Yethu, a relative survived a shooting in what is believed to be another targeted “hit” on the family.
The shooting of the woman in Imizamo Yethu on Saturday November 11 follows Ms Hendricks’s murder on Monday November 7 (“Mom killed in shooting,” Sentinel, November 10). To the family, it has confirmed their belief that they are being systematically targeted as their shop poses a threat to other shopkeepers in Imizamo Yethu.
The family do not wish to discuss details of this shooting, for fear of further reprisal. Hout Bay police spokesperson Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch said an attempted murder docket was opened and is being investigated.
In an interview with the family a day prior to the latest shooting, they revealed new information about events leading up to Ms Hendricks’s death.
“Since the last week of October, our house (to which the shop is attached) has been petrol-bombed, and mobs of people have gathered at our shop demanding that we close,” said Ms Hendricks’s distraught daughter, Simnikiwe, 20.
“We believe that these mobs, most of whom are living on the sports field (emergency displacement area), are being paid by the other shopkeepers because they want us out. We have reported these incidents to the police,” she said.
The family have lived in the area for more than 50 years, and said they had been there long before an informal settlement was established.
Simnikiwe said her family had fought for their land and opened the shop three months ago in order to generate extra income for themselves.
“We have been receiving threats from people calling anonymously, and then of course the petrol bomb and mobs happened.
On Monday when my mom was killed, we received another threatening phone call, but we thought that they would just come as a group again. We didn’t think they were coming to kill her. I think my mom was targeted because she was smart, and they knew she could make a success of the business.”
The family believe those behind the hit and attempted hit are not from Imizamo Yethu, but are being recruited from other areas.
Ms Hendricks’s father, Albert, believes the attacks on his family are also racially motivated, as the community did not want a coloured family trading in the area.
“The people who are living in IY now, they can’t even tell you how Hout Bay was in the 60s. But I was here, and now we’re being pushed out. I have papers for this shop, but the foreign shopkeepers working here don’t have any. They have told the community that we are selling drugs here, but there is no such thing. It’s all lies.”
They also believe some police officers are accepting bribes to turn a blind eye to what was happening.
Warrant Officer Lesch confirmed the petrol-bombing and mob intimidation had been reported to police. However, with regard to allegations of hit men targeting the family she said there was no evidence to support those statements, “but all information will be followed up”.
No arrests have been made.