June 22, 2024

Activist who fought to have foreign spaza shops removed from township murdered

Tshepo Mwelase who was shot and killed on Saturday night

Residents of KwaThema in the east of Johannesburg are still reeling in shock after the murder of a community leader and activist. Tshepo Mwelase (44) was shot dead at his hiding place a week ago. Mwelase has been leading a campaign to have foreign owned spaza shops removed from the township.


Last year, Tshepo led a campaign were all foreign owned spaza shops in the township were removed. It's alleged that after that, there has been multiple attempts on his life, and he was forced into hiding. According to residents who spoke to ZiMoja and asked not to be named, they claimed that in this year alone there has been four attempts to his life. "Tshepo was gunned down at his hiding place where he was renting. Before the foreign spaza owners before they moved out, they vowed that they were coming for him. He was a fearless young leader who pushed for the community to chase out foreign nationals that used to own spaza shops around KwaThema," the resident said. All spaza shops are now being owned by locals in the area.


Another resident said: "We are very saddened about his passing away as he had survived four times. At one stage, a young child caught a stray bullet when they were trying to get rid of him. We will wait and see if they will try to come to the community after they killed him in cold blood," the community member said. He added: "People are still mourning his death once everything has been done, we are going to do what he taught us, to take it to the streets if we are happy. We want his killer's arrested and sentenced to many years in prison." The community of KwaThema hosted a candlelight service for Mwelase at Ndaba Tree where they also announced that he will be buried on Saturday. Gauteng SAPS spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said confirmed that a case of murder has been opened for investigation. "No arrests have been made. Police are appealing to anyone who might have information that can help in the investigation or assist in the apprehension of the suspects to please call the nearest police station or call crime stop on 08600 10111."

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