Pregnant Eastern Cape woman gunned down in her driveway. Was it a hit?

Sibahle Sowazi
Image: SUPPLIED

A man whose heavily pregnant partner was gunned down in cold blood outside their King William’s Town home this week believes the bullets were meant for him.

Sinovuyo Gxamza, an ANC member in the Amathole region, told DispatchLIVE on Thursday he was certain the shooting was “a political hit”.

His partner Sibahle Sowazi, 35, was eight months pregnant.

On Thursday morning, Gxamza agreed to speak about his partner’s slaying but asked DispatchLIVE to call him back in the afternoon.

But later in the day he said he was still too traumatised to talk about Tuesday’s shooting.

He asked to be given time to deal with what had happened.

Some people DispatchLIVE spoke to agreed the attack was politically motivated and intended to kill Gxashe, but others believe it was Gxashe’s role in the taxi industry that had made him a target.

Sowazi, a civil servant in Bhisho, was shot dead in their Clubview home driveway on Tuesday afternoon.

She was in the couple’s white Audi SUV when the unknown gunmen struck.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Sibongile Soci confirmed King William’s Town police were investigating the killing. The occupants of a Toyota Fortuner SUV opened fire on a pregnant woman, Soci said, adding the circumstances and motive around the 4.30pm shooting were still unknown.

“Police were called to the scene and on arrival they found the body of a 35-year-old pregnant woman next to her vehicle.”

No arrests had been made by Thursday afternoon.

A neighbour of the couple, who asked not to be named, said she suspected the drive-by shooting was meant for Gxamza.

She said she had spotted the couple driving out of their home on Tuesday. Gxamza was in the driver’s seat.

“It was broad daylight. I later heard a number of gunshots, probably from a big machine gun. But I was too scared to come out the house to see what was going on.

“I suspect the two had gone to town to grab something to eat, because when we saw ambulances and police rushing to the scene, we came out of our houses to get a closer look. That is when I saw packets of fast-food chicken,” said the woman.

“I noticed the woman was in the driver’s seat and she was alone in the car at the time of the shooting. The guy was apparently not very far away, or he was following behind as he came quickly to the scene in a black Mercedes-Benz.”

An ANC insider, who asked for his identity to be concealed because he feared he could be killed, described the suspects as “very dangerous”.

“Even though I do not have much evidence in that regard, to me, this smells of a well orchestrated political hit, aimed at this comrade.”

“He is from ward 8 in Ngqushwa and the political situation is very volatile in our Amathole region. One just cannot rule out a political hit when gunmen, believed to have carried heavy-calibre weapons, can just spray one’s vehicle with bullets without showing any interest in stealing anything. So my take is that this was a politically related hit,” he said.

ANC Amathole regional secretary Teris Ntuthu, who said he was unaware of Gxamza’s political activism in the region, condemned the killing, saying law enforcement agencies should prioritise the investigation.

Ntuthu was sceptical that the shooting was politically motivated. “We have heard about some serious tensions and challenges in the region. We sometimes disagree, but I don’t know of any history where people get killed over such [matters].

“I don’t know much about him in the ANC. I have heard that he is a taxi boss and that also could be the cause of the shooting.”

He was concerned about violent incidents involving ANC members in the Ngqushwa area, he added.

Police are appealing to anyone who can assist with the information about the shooting to contact captain Sifiso Mchunu on 082-387-5013 or King William’s Town police on 043-604-0100.

BY ASANDA NINI

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