South African police have launched a major manhunt to find the killers of national football captain Senzo Meyiwa, shot dead by suspected burglars. They have offered a reward of 250,000 rand (£14,000; $23,000) for information about the attack, which highlights the country’s high rates of violent crime. Meyiwa, 27, was reportedly shot after men entered his girlfriend’s house. President Jacob Zuma led tributes to the goalkeeper, saying “words cannot express the nation’s shock”.
Police said two men had entered the house in Vosloorus, south of Johannesburg, at around 20:00 (18:00 GMT), demanding mobile phones and valuables. A third man remained outside.
One of the two was described by police as tall, dark-skinned and slender with dreadlocks, and the other was said to be short, dark-skinned and well-built. National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega told a press conference that Meyiwa was shot once in the upper body as he moved towards the door. The three men then fled on foot, she said.
The footballer was declared dead on arrival at hospital. Relatives and fans gathered at the hospital and at the crime scene outside the home of well-known singer and actress Kelly Khumalo, who Meyiwa had been dating.
South African President Jacob Zuma said in a statement on Monday: “We mourn the death of this young footballer and team leader whose life has been taken away at the prime of his career. Words cannot express the nation’s shock at this loss.” The whole nation is mourning the passing of a national football hero. Radio and TV chat shows are clogged with callers expressing their shock and dismay. His shooting brings into sharp focus the wider issues of gun crime in South Africa, particularly so soon after the trial of athlete Oscar Pistorius, who says he shot dead his girlfriend by mistake, fearing there was an intruder in the house.