Johannesburg Drive-by Killings Highlight Pervasive Crime Problem

(Bloomberg) -- Shootings in Johannesburg early Wednesday left two people dead and 16 injured, marring the city’s New Year celebrations and highlighting a crime problem that’s one of the government’s biggest challenges.

Two people died and six were injured when the occupants of a car fired on Poppy’s restaurant in the relatively affluent northern Johannesburg suburb of Melville.

Johannesburg Drive-by Killings Highlight Pervasive Crime Problem

“A terrible tragedy happened in my neighborhood in the early hours of this morning,” said a blog posted from Melville. “A drive-by shooting. Two young women, dead. A car guard, shot in the head and critical.”

Two hours later, at 3 a.m. local time, 11 people were injured by gunshots that police believe were fired from a highway overpass into a crowd at a public celebration at Mary Fitzgerald Square in the city center.

While the first attack may have been sparked by an earlier fight, according to eye witnesses, the motive for the second is unclear. No arrests have been made.

While gun violence in South Africa’s biggest city is common, with five people killed in a single attack at a tavern in Soweto township in December, the location of the latest shootings has illustrated just how prevalent the problem is, with coverage dominating local news services.

South Africa has the continent’s highest murder rate, with an average of more than 50 people killed each day.

According to Gun Free South Africa, a non-governmental organization, there are 4.5 million licensed firearms in the country, almost 10,000 are reported lost or stolen every year and 23 people are murdered daily with guns.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.