‘I’m relieved my brother is dead’

The unrepentant sister of a mentally ill Phomolong, Tembisa man who was allegedly shot dead by a police officer has described his death as a “hurtful good riddance”.

Rodrick Raphalalani, 49, died after being hit by seven bullets inside the Tembisa Hospital on Thursday.

The shooting took place after Raphalalani allegedly stabbed a police officer several times as he refused to be admitted to the hospital.

His older sister Alina, 55, said Raphalalani threatened to kill her on the fateful day.

“After he continued threatening me … I called the Rabie Ridge police to come and take him to hospital,” she said from her home in Phomolong. “Two officers came and he got into the van. [Before we left] I warned police about his violent behaviour and even suggested they call for back up.”

Alina said at the time, Raphalalani was carrying a bag, but she did not suspect he had a knife inside.

“Upon our arrival at the hospital, he refused to get out of the van. One of officers sprayed pepper spray on his face. He then took off his jacket and set it alight inside the van. He then jumped off the car and started chasing us while wielding a knife. While I ran to the ICU for safety, I heard several gunshots … I was later informed that he had died.”

However, an eyewitness said the officers failed to control the patient, leading to one of them sustaining stab wounds. The witness said Rodrick was “shot while lying down”.

The police referred inquiries to Independent Police Investigative Directorate, who could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Alina said Rodrick had a history of addiction to nyaope and mental illness.

“I didn’t have peace in my own house. He sold everything in the house and when I spoke out he threatened to stab me.

“I know people will judge me when I say his death is good riddance, but the truth is that I lived with this person and I endured the most horrible things in his hands.”

Source: Sowetan