Brenden Thandroyen with his brother Craig Thandroyen.Picture: Supplied
Brenden Thandroyen with his brother Craig Thandroyen.Picture: Supplied

Brothers shot dead in Durban CBD ’gave their absolute best to help others’

By Chanelle Lutchman Time of article published Jun 18, 2021

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Durban: Police have urged anyone with information about the shooting of four people in the Durban city centre at the weekend to come forward.

On Saturday, Brenden Thandroyen stopped just after midday outside their family business property on the corner of Pickering and Mazeppa streets in the Point area. His brother Craig was in the front passenger seat of the VW Golf 7. Brenden’s daughter, Bianca Africa, 17, and Craig’s son, Carel, 13, were in the back.

The brothers were chatting to a worker when a car pulled up alongside them and the occupant or occupants opened fire on them.

Both brothers were killed instantly. The two children were injured. Bianca Africa, a matric pupil at Northlands Girls’ High School, was rushed to hospital but died later that afternoon. Carel, who was shot in the leg, survived.

Colonel Thembeka Mbele, KZN police spokesperson, said police believe the family were attacked by three people. She said police had not yet established a motive for the killing.

However, at least three law enforcement officers, all independent of each other, said police were investigating the possibility it was drug-related.

Bianca Africa Thandroyen Picture: Supplied

A statement released by a family member said: “The devastating and tragic loss of three family members caused by heinous behaviour is undoubtedly shocking and perplexing. The pain inflicted is excruciating and our grief inexplicable for our loved ones’ deaths.

“Brenden and Craig both worked tirelessly alongside their father in their family businesses, Duncan’s Salvage and Duncan’s Scrap Metal Buyers, which has been trading for the last 35 years in the Point vicinity. They boys, together with their dad, Duncan, played pivotal roles in aiding the poor in the Point Road vicinity.

“This entrenched family value to help others resulted in the establishment of a homeless shelter known as Duncan’s Shelter. They were pillars of strength to a community in dire need of assistance. The locals referred to them as “Mkhulu” or “Baba Duncan’s sons or the Robin Hood of Point Road”.

The statement continued: “They gave their absolute best to help others, which extended to paying rent on behalf of an elderly woman and purchasing medication for the sick. Every year, Brenden celebrated his birthday with a braai for the poor and the family often provided groceries for impoverished families.

“Brenden and Craig had hearts of gold and never knew the word no. Their love had no boundaries. They lived for their family and loved them dearly. They remained humble and respectful to their parents. They had a passion, exuberance and love for life. Their parents are beyond shattered and devastated by the loss. Their sons were their very lifeline in all aspects.”

Of Bianca, the statement said: “She emulated the nobility of both her parents, Brenden and Zama Africa Thandroyen. She was a young, vibrant, respectful child who was kind, caring and nurturing. She was an aspirational and incredibly talented young artist. However, she wanted to pursue a career in psychology.

“Like other young ladies her age, she loved fashion, music, sports and make-up. She selflessly devoted time to helping the elderly and children via school initiatives and she was the apple of her dad’s eye.

“Zama Africa Thandroyen has lost both her husband and her only child, inflicting such grief and despair that one can never poignantly describe.”

The family urged anyone with information to go to the police. They also requested people to stop sharing and watching videos taken moments after the shooting.

Parboo Sewpersad, metro police spokesperson, encouraged anyone with information to contact the police.

“These gangster-style shootings are on the rise in the CBD. Even on Sunday there was a drive-by shooting and it needs to stop. There’s a lot of people moving around the CBD and innocent people are being caught in the crossfire. People who see car registrations or who see what happens need to come forward and report it to the police.”

When the POST visited the scene, residents and business owners spoke fondly of the family.

“We were all shocked and scared,” said a business owner. “I just sat in my shop. Only after the police came did I close my shop and go out to see. I was shocked to see that they were killed. They were wonderful people. I can still picture them seated in their vehicle.”

A resident said: “It was chaos. People were trying to remove them from the car. I saw the little boy at the back crying. His face showed his trauma. Other people were screaming. This was the first time I ever saw something like this.

“To shoot at children and to kill one… it was a ruthless act. These are good people. They never troubled anyone.”

According to media reports, in November 2017 Craig was one of eight men arrested for the theft of war memorial plaques from the Cenotaph at the Durban City Hall. He was found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison or periodic imprisonment of 26 280 hours.

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