A Hout Bay woman was gunned down in cold blood in front of her seven children and two grandchildren this week after tensions flared over a new spaza shop near the Imizamo Yethu taxi rank.
Elaine Hendricks, 37, who worked at well-known craft shop Original T Bag Designs, was shot while sitting outside the Mandela Road shop, at about 6.30pm, on Monday.
Her devastated mother, Willemina Hendricks, who owns the store with her husband, Albert, had been with her daughter and the children – who are between the ages of 4 and 20 – moments before she was shot.
”She had just come back from work, and we were talking. We were sitting outside the shop, and she asked if I could please go inside and buy her airtime, which I did,” she said.
“While I was inside the shop, I heard a gun cock and a gunshot go off. I ran outside, and my daughter was on the ground saying, ‘Oh mom, oh mom, oh mom.’
She was trying to push her children away, to get them out of danger.”
She had been shot in the chest four times and died about 40 minutes later, her mother said
Ms Hendricks said she had seen a suspect “with a scar on his face” running away.
The family established the spaza shop in the area three months ago, although there has been much resistance.
“I don’t know why they shot Elaine, but there are some people here who say we have been selling drugs from the shop. But we have never sold drugs. I’ve told people if they believe we are selling, why don’t they call the police to search us.”
Elaine lived with her children and grandchildren at her parents’ house in Luthuli Street, in Imizamo Yethu. Her husband died suddenly in 2004.
Mrs Hendricks described her daughter as a “very happy person” who loved her children.
Hout Bay police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch was aware that there had been unhappiness over the shop.
“At this stage, we don’t know the exact reason for the murder, but the community didn’t want another shop, particularly in that area. There haven’t been any shops there previously,” she said.
“The community has previously met with the colonel (station commander Lieutenant-Colonel Khuthala Nebhisi) to say they didn’t want the shop. We are following up all leads on what happened. No arrests have been made at this stage.”
Jill Heyes, the founding member of Original T Bag Designs, said Ms Hendricks had worked at the store for 11 years.
“Our staff are very cut up about it, and we are bringing in a social worker to talk to them,” she said.
“Elaine was a very bubbly character, and was very capable as a crafter where she worked in production.”
Elaine was also known at the Hout Bay Association for People with Disabilities, where she taught clients how to make arts and crafts.