Top detectives hunt Dube's killers

A crack team of detectives was on Friday hunting for the killers of reggae star Lucky Dube as public outrage against violent crime mounted.

Gauteng police spokesperson Superintendent Eugene Opperman said the search was continuing for the men who murdered Dube in a botched hijacking.

Dube was shot dead in Rosettenville at about 8.20pm on Thursday night, said police spokesperson Captain Cheryl Engelbrecht. The singer was travelling in a grey Chrysler with his two teenage children at the time.

Engelbrecht said Dube had dropped off his son and daughter, aged 15 and 16, when he was attacked. The killers fled the scene in a blue VW Polo, leaving the musician’s car behind.
The children were unhurt.

Gauteng’s police commissioner Perumal Naidoo has hand-picked a team of investigators to track down Dube’s killers.

“Commissioner Naidoo has expressed his abhorrence at this murder,” Opperman said.

“He’s got a lot of confidence in this team, who will do everything possible to identify and arrest those responsible for this. Director Charles Johnson, a very experienced senior detective in Gauteng, will now oversee every step of the investigation.”

Dube’s legacy

Condolences spanned the length and breadth of the political and cultural spectrum, with everyone from President Thabo Mbeki to the South African Football Players’ Union praising Dube’s legacy and raising concerns about the level of violent crime.

Mbeki made an appeal to South Africans to confront the “scourge” of crime together.

“This is ... very, very sad that this happened to an outstanding South African—an outstanding musician, world renowned,” he said as he was leaving for France to support the Springboks in the World Cup final.

Mbeki conveyed his condolences to the family and also to Dube’s fans in SA and around the world.

Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said: “For more than two decades he confronted pertinent social and political issues through his music, bringing to the fore the pain and suffering of many South Africans.”

Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan called Dube one of the most “important and relevant” voices to come out of the country in the 20th century.

“What makes his death more painful is that it happened at a time when government has renewed its pledge to forge a partnership with people, communities and their institutions to fight crime,” he said in a statement.

The African National Congress (ANC) on Friday condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the barbaric and senseless” killing “by people who have no respect for life”.

“We urge law enforcement agencies to act promptly in hunting down these nefarious, ruthless criminals who have robbed the Dube family of a father and a son, and a musical icon of all times to South Africa, Africa and the world at large,” the ruling party said in a statement.

“Through his music, Dube played a pivotal role in sensitising the world about the hardships faced by oppressed people in South Africa at the height of apartheid.

“His lyrics were a thorn on the side of the apartheid government which had put in place policies precisely designed to undermine the existence of black people and all those who denounced the regime.”

The ANC said it believed that “working in unison”, South Africans could and would defeat crime.

“Brutal crimes such as these once more remind us, the people of this country, of the need to join hands with our law enforcement agencies and forge a bold front against crime,” it said.

The African Christian Democratic Party called on government to drive “fear into the lives of criminals” and urged a return to the death penalty.

Recording artist, anti-apartheid activist and poet Mzwakhe Mbuli, who had known Dube “for years” said Dube was soft-spoken, “a perfectionist when it came to the arts” and that he had a wide vocal range.

“He was not as outspoken as some of us; he was a reserved person, but very humorous—always in a polite way.” Mbuli also added his voice to the outrage over the country’s crime rate.

“It’s sad that it happened in front of his children. What kind of country is this that does not respect its icons? What kind of advert does this send to the world ahead of 2010?” - Sapa

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