Police have arrested three men for the murder of 6-year-old Zakariyah Noble, who was shot dead in Hanover Park earlier this month.
The men, aged 20, 21, and 30, were arrested in Hanover Park last Thursday and were due to appear in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on Monday, said Philippi police spokesman, Captain Lance Goliath.
Zakariyah was caught in crossfire, in Rywood Road, on Monday October 16, at around 5.30pm, and died from a bullet to the chest.
On Wednesday October 18, at 3pm, family, friends, residents, and Zakariyah’s classmates gathered outside his Etosha Court home in Hanover Park for his janaaza. He was buried at Pooke Road Cemetery.
Zakariyah’s father, Kieyamodien Noble, was at work last Monday when he received a call that his son had been shot. He had been playing outside with his cousin and watching videos online.
Zakariyah was rushed to Hanover Park day hospital where he was declared dead.
Mr Noble described his son as a witty child who was very talkative and asked a lot of questions.
“If he didn’t understand something, he would ask questions until he understood. When he was in creche, he was an introvert, and when he came out of his shell, he was very talkative. He loved school. He was so excited for Grade 1 next year. He was excited for the school tie, shirt, and school shoes.
“Someone of the SAPS Anti-Gang Unit called me to say that two of the three guys were identified. There was an eyewitness.”
Mr Noble said it was a horrible feeling to lose a child and the family wanted justice: the accused should be denied bail and get the maximum sentence if found guilty.
“We are distraught, broken, and emotionally unavailable. Depression is kicking in. Any time of the day they are doing something, and you are reminded of them. All those habits that are no longer there. The thought of that kills me. I am having a battle in my own mind.
“We will protest outside of the court because this was my child. Who will be next? They just shoot wherever they want to.
“The school has been sharing some videos and updates of memorials that each class has been having at the school.
“We have received a lot of support from the MJC (Muslim Judicial Council), the community, and other parents who have lost children to shootings. My employers have been so supportive.”
Captain Goliath said it still had to be determined whether the shooting was gang-related.
He said that while residents were distraught, they should not take the law into their own hands but rather report any information to the police.
“Philippi police have subsequently increased visibility, and intensified crime-prevention operations within identified crime hot-spot areas are yielding positive results as police are clamping down on more criminals and their criminal activities. The confiscation and seizures of firearms and ammunition from the hands of ruthless criminals are saving lives. Police will leave no stone unturned to apprehend and bring criminals to book,” he said.
Hanover Park Community Police Forum member, Yaseen Johaar, said politicians needed to do more to find the cause of gangsterism.
Sporadic shootings increased at night and during load shedding, and too many innocent lives were being lost, he said.
“Shooting is so bad at the moment,” he said, adding that the CPF had marched with religious leaders on Sunday to shooting hot spots in the area, including Algoa Court, and Sherwood Walk.
“We are calling on the Almighty to keep us safe and help us succeed. The solution is simple but it is easier said than done. We need to get to the root cause of the crime,” he said.
Call Philippi police station at 021 690 1504 or Crime stop at 0800 10111 to report crime. Or use the MySAPS app.