Notorious hijacker Sandile Bhengu aka “Chillies” had a memorial service like no other in Umlazi, Durban o Thursday. His send off was filled with dancing, loud music, car spinning and brandishing of firearms.
The man known as “Chillies” was killed last week during a shootout with police after a hijacking gone wrong.
Several messages warning of chaos leading up to his memorial service were circulating on social media.
Update: A previous version showed men brandishing fire-arms which were believed to be Chillies’ friends. ENCA has since reported that the men in the video are the bodyguards of ANC eThekwini Regional Secretary, Bheki Ntuli. It is unclear if the men knew Chillies.
KZN provincial spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala confirmed that the police were aware of the messages circulating on social media but were unaware of the source.
“There is always a trend amongst criminals that if one of the dies, they spin vehicles and make threats to commit more crime,” she said.
Police were deployed outside the hall where Bhengu’s memorial service was held, with some stationed in Umlazi’s main roads to keep an eye on suspicious activities.
Reaction from those who knew Bhengu was that of sadness and he was described as someone who was well respected, despite known criminal activities.
KZN MEC for transport Mxolisi Kaunda earlier spoke out against the idolisation of criminals,
“We want to appeal to the people of KZN especially the youth who are still very impressionable not to idolise the lifestyle of criminals,”
— Qili (@vuusiee) September 5, 2017
There was also a video on social media of his last spin the night before he was shot by police the following day.
Notorious hijacker ‘CHILLIES’ showing off at a Caltex garage day before being put down by SAPS. pic.twitter.com/rUXKPB48Cf
— VOOV: (@Benevolent_Mash) September 4, 2017
Umlazi SAPS promised to increase visibility around the area until the day of Bhengu’s funeral. They have discouraged community members from joining in when shots are being fired in the air as this could lead to death of bystanders.