Petros slams Kempton Park Police Station shooting (28.04.11)

By Andrea van Wyk & Rahima Essop

Gauteng Police Commissioner Mzwandile Petros on Thursday strongly condemned Tuesday’s incident in which a woman was shot dead, allegedly by a police officer, outside the Kempton Park Police Station.

Petros said officers are baffled as to what happened at the police station on Tuesday night.

Petros strongly condemned the shooting. “Police were shocked by the incident. I must say, there is no way we can explain exactly what happened,” he said.

Some eyewitnesses claimed to have heard gunshots, a loud bang and seeing an armed policeman at Jeanette Odendaal’s car. Others claimed she was shot by a cop.

But there have been conflicting eyewitness statements about what happened on.

A witness on scene described what happened.

“As I approached the traffic lights near the police station I heard gun shots and a loud bang. As I got closer I saw a guy who parks cars opposite the police run away but there was also a cop with a gun in his hand,” he said.

He said the police officer then came around to Odendaal’s passenger seat and pointed his gun at the car.

Other witnesses have described seeing the officer firing a single shot into Odendaal’s upper body.

Petros said further investigation is needed.

The officer is expected to appear at the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on Friday and the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) is investigating the shooting.

This was the second time a civilian died apparently at the hands of police. Eight Ficksburg police officers are behind bars in connection with the death of Andries Tatane.

Tatane was killed in Ficksburg, in the Free State, allegedly by police during service delivery protests.

Tensions have been running high in the Ficksburg township of Meqheleng since Tatane’s death and a team from the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation will monitor the situation in the small town.

The day after Tatane’s murder, residents went on the rampage burning municipal buildings and looting shops.

There are also concerns that violence could once again erupt in the township if the officers implicated in Tatane’s death are released on bail on Friday.

The CSVR’s Emily Mabusela said the aim is to help the community find peaceful solutions to their problems. The organisation is compiling a research report on several townships hit by protests over lack of basic services.

In Eyewitness News.