Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Anger over ‘senseless’ murder of gospel singer and friends

By Robin Lee Francke and Zodidi Dano | IOL |

A  Cape Flats community is baying for blood after a well-known gospel singer was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in Nooitgedacht, Bishop Lavis, which killed three men. 

Wilton Fredericks, 31, and two other men were standing outside his home on Saturday at 3pm when two vehicles drove past and open fired on them

Wilton Fredericks, 31, and two other men were standing next to a white Chevrolet bakkie in Ferel Street on Saturday at 3pm when two vehicles drove past and open fired on them.

Wilton is the son of legendary Cape Flats gospel singer, Pastor Wilmot Fredericks.

His entire family – dad Wilmot, brother Byron Levi and mom Dolly – are singers.

According to a witness, the gunmen are from Valhalla Park, but this could not be confirmed by police.

Wilton’s two childhood friends, Martin Andrews and Carl Arries, died on the scene while Wilton was rushed to hospital.

Unfortunately the unmarried father of three died due to the extent of his injuries.

Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed the shooting.

“Three victims were shot while standing outside. Two died on the scene and the other one died in hospital,” she said.

“Murder dockets have been opened and are under investigation. No arrests have been made yet.”

The death of Wilton has left his community of Bishop Lavis shocked and angered.

Robert Brown, Community Empowerment and Development chairman in Bishop Lavis, said the killing was senseless.

“One cannot describe how the community is feeling. Innocent lives are taken away so abruptly,” said Brown.

“The whole community came out on Saturday to the crime scene and the look of anger and sadness was visible.

“Our community is angry, they are baying for blood. Everyone is deeply saddened, especially by the death of Wilton who was one of Cape Town’s top gospel musicians.”

Pastor Fredericks said they have no idea why his son was killed.

“We as a family are struggling but there are a lot of people phoning, popping in supporting us… our main support comes from God. However, we are crying buckets of tears,” said the pastor.

He said Wilton, of the Christian Explainers Church in Delft, was due to perform with him and his brother at a Father’s Day service at the Victory Outreach Church in Goodwood on Sunday, as well as at a benefit concert for the family of late singer Ricardo Groenewald in Athlone on Sunday night.

“I was going to sing alongside my sons, since it is Father’s Day. It would have been extremely special singing together,” the dad said.

The pastor was preparing his sermon for Father’s Day when he heard the loud sound of gunfire. Knowing his son was standing with friends outside the house he rushed out, but it was too late.

Fredericks recounted how he found his son gasping for breath.

“I knew my son was out there. I had left him standing with a group of his childhood friends. I ran out towards the scene only to find that people were going in the opposite direction.

“I found my son lying there. It seemed it wasn’t a serious wound, but as I was encouraging him to remain conscious I could see he was struggling to breathe. He told me ‘Ek kan nie(I can’t)’,” said the pastor.

He said within minutes paramedics arrived and Wilton was transported to Elsies River Day Hospital where he died shortly after entering the trauma unit.

The pastor described his son as the “real singer” in the family. “He was never in trouble with police, he had never been arrested. He was standing at that place like I would; speaking to people he grew up with.

“He was at the wrong place at the wrong time. It could’ve been me because it is in my nature to laugh and speak to everyone,” said Fredericks.

Community Police Forum (CPF) chairperson Graham Lindhorst said it was suspected that the shooting was in retaliation for last month’s Belhar and Elsies River shootings.

He said: “We are shocked to hear Wilton was also attacked in this senseless shooting. He has no gang affiliation but stays in the same road. He was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Lindhorst said he was a friend of the Fredericks family. “I had recently employed Wilton at my place of work. He was a very friendly person who smiled at everyone. He was soft-spoken.”