Pretoria – The DA has blamed gangsters known as Boko Haram for the gruesome death of its activist Daniel Sello, 51, who was shot five times in his bed at Mamelodi Hostel on Saturday night.
Former Tshwane MMC Darryl Moss and members of the Mamelodi Hostel Residents Committee said Sello was killed for standing up to gangsters who used force and intimidation to score business deals in the township.
SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said the police were hunting a group of unknown men for fatally shooting Sello and another man.
“The suspects were allegedly led to Sello. On arrival, they started firing shots that killed him on the spot, while another male victim was injured and rushed to hospital for medical attention.
“The motive behind the shooting is yet to be determined, but the police are investigating a case of murder and attempted murder,” said Peters.
Sello was the DA chairperson in Ward 38 and head of the Mamelodi Hostel Residents Committee.
It is claimed that he clashed with gang members who carried firearms and disturbed workers at some projects.
He previously opened a case against them.
His hostel room-mates said they were still traumatised by what had happened.
They said the shooters arrived at their hostel at about 9pm while they were still cooking and asked them to point out which one was Sello.
“Three men entered our hostel and two waited outside. Our door was still open as I was preparing to go out for a smoke.
“They started beating us and asking which one was Sello.
“Sello was already in bed and seemingly tired. When they got into the room with our beds, they walked closer to his bed and called his name and made sure he answered to confirm it was indeed him.
“He answered, and they said ‘wake up quickly; you’re wasting time’. When he did, they fired a shot under his belly, two at his chest and two at his head.
“There was no talk or negotiation; these men were just there to shoot and kill him.
“One of the room-mates who started running was also shot. We have been traumatised by the incident and we struggle to fall asleep in this hostel,” said a room-mate.
According to the DA, Sello had been receiving death threats since he was appointed by the government to head the relocation of hostel dwellers to temporary structures for compliance with Covid-19 regulations.
The DA meanwhile appealed to Police Minister Bheki Cele to institute an urgent investigation into the notorious Boko Haram gang that was allegedly terrorising residents at the Mamelodi Hostels.
The hostel’s committee members said they were now scared because they knew Sello was killed for being vocal in fighting for the inclusion of residents in a project to refurbish the hostel.
“We feel like the police could have at least done something because he opened a case earlier on. But they said there was no evidence of threats. Look now, the evidence is his dead body.
“We don’t feel safe because people who use force to represent their business interests could kill us and maybe there is a list with our names,” said a committee member.
Moss said the DA would be involving the Independent Police Investigative Directorate to investigate why there was no action from the police.
He said: “The problem of gangsterism in business is a wide problem in Mamelodi and the hostels in particular. Gangsters invaded the hostels some time ago and kicked some people out of the hostels but nothing was done about that.
“They have never had respect for business processes and they just want to enter by force and be given work without even applying for a tender.
“I think the last nail in the coffin was when the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation awarded a tender for the building of temporary shelters in the hostels.”
The dead man’s brother, Ronny Sello, said the whole ordeal was very painful to the family.
He said they were preparing to bury him at Ga-Mashabela, Limpopo, in the days to come.
“My brother and I were supposed to meet this coming weekend to go and pay lobola on behalf of our youngest brother who wants to get married. I have not eaten since my brother was killed,” he said.