Cape Town - The girlfriend of a homeless man shot and killed by a City of Cape Town law enforcement officer has vowed to make the municipality pay for his death.
Christen Coleridge was speaking at the memorial service of Dumisani Joxo, 48, who was killed on Sunday. The service was held next to where he was killed.
“What he did cannot go unpunished,” said Coleridge. “They can get the best lawyers to get the charge changed from murder to self-defence, but this will not go unpunished. The officer must know this. Dumisani was unarmed, so there was no reason for the officer to shoot. He had a Taser and pepper spray, so why not use one of those two?”
The officer, Luvolwethu Kati, 22, is accused of shooting Joxo in the face on Sunday morning in Chester Road. He was arrested shortly after the incident and appeared in court on Tuesday, where he was released on R1 000 bail.
According to reports, Kati and a colleague responded to a complaint about a group of homeless people cooking a meal over an open fire.
Upon arrival at the scene, the officer asked a homeless man who was preparing the meal to extinguish his fire, but the man refused to do so. He told the officers that he was hungry and was boiling water to prepare a meal for the day.
Coleridge said the officer then kicked over the man’s pot, resulting in an argument between the officers, the man and Joxo. A scuffle then broke out, during which Joxo was shot in the mouth. He later died at the scene.
In November last year, a City of Cape Town law enforcement officer, Morné Horn, was found guilty of the murders of an undercover policeman and the man the policeman was arresting. The officer is expected to be sentenced next month.
Dumisani’s brother, Mzwandile Joxo, said his parents were devastated by the death of their son.
“My father back home is not taking the news well. Ever since he heard about Dumsani’s death, he has not been okay.”
Mzwandile said they last saw Dumsani in 2010.
“He would go for a month or two and return, but in 2010 he left and never came back.”
“He was very good at drawing and used to do my art homework. He introduced me to reggae, and his favourite artist was the late Bob Marley. My brother was a humble person and protected me when he was around.”
The City of Cape Town came under fire following the killing, and the training provided to its officers has also been questioned. The city defended its officers and said law enforcement candidates underwent six months of training, which included both theoretical and supervised practical training.
The city said: “Law enforcement officers receive exactly the same accredited firearm training as SAPS officers, strictly following the nationally determined standards (set) by the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority. (The) SAPS issues the firearm competency certificates to city law enforcement officers. (The) SAPS training time frames differ only because of (the) additional legislation and subject matter applicable to their constitutional mandate.”
U-turn, a non-profit organisation that works with homeless people, said the senseless loss of Joxo’s life shines a spotlight on the need for the city and the government to prioritise long-term socio-economic solutions that will help people leave a life on the streets behind them.
“A better solution is needed for reducing the number of people stranded on the streets. The trend has been to throw resources at short-term solutions, with limited attention given to long-term development solutions and a notable lack of concern for effective tracking of outcomes.”