Durban – Sydenham lovebirds Chadley Thring and Kasey Oliver were to marry at a local church. The plan was that they would spend the rest of the week on honeymoon, but that’s all changed.
Instead, Thring’s fiancée and family are mourning his death after the 19-year-old was allegedly gunned down by a rival gang on Thursday at the corner of Barns and St Theresa roads in Sydenham.
It has been alleged that the turf war is linked to drugs. There are now fears there will be a surge of violence in Sydenham and surrounding areas.
“Chad and I had big plans, but in a second this happened and changed everything,” said Oliver, 21, on Monday.
“I spent every day of the past year with him, and now he’s not around. I want justice. I know it won’t bring him back to me, but he was a good person and didn’t deserve to die like this.”
Thring, originally from Sherwood, was shot twice in the neck and once in the head. He died at the scene.
His older brother, Brad, said neither Thring nor his friends saw the gunman approach. It is alleged the man got out of a car, walked towards Thring, and fired directly at him.
As his friends scattered, an accomplice, who remained in the driver’s seat, is also alleged to have opened fire.
Brad said his sibling had started to hang out with a group of men, who lived in Matlock Road, about two years ago.
He said he cautioned his brother against this but Thring would not listen.
“I told him about the turf war between the Matlock gang and another gang and how dangerous it was. I also cautioned him to take a step back, but he was a joker and told me to relax.”
Brad said he heard the killers were driving around the area, “looking for someone, when they found him”.
“One guy jumped out of the car, while the other stayed inside. All they did was shoot at my brother from the back. They were looking for him. He was the target.”
Thring’s mother, Samantha, said her son worked for a drug lord but she did not know what he did.
She said although she mourned his death, she felt at peace. “At least now I know he’s in a better place. Even though I taught him the right way to live, he chose the wrong way and got caught up in this nonsense.
“This turf war has been going on for years and despite sending him to live with family outside the area, he returned.”
She described him as a “gentle giant” and added that days before his death he spent time with some of his loved ones.
“It’s like he knew something was going to happen. Since the incident, so many people told us he’d visited them.”
Thring’s grandmother, Estelle, said: “When we went to the scene, I screamed out of anger and frustration. I pointed to his body and said to his friends, ‘look at what has happened. Do you all still want to live this life?’ The area is known for drugs. It’s breaking our homes, our community and also killing our kids.”
Last year, Haven Bhima, 24, who lived in Sydenham Heights on Rippon Road, was shot in an alleged gang-related incident. Greg Warren Rajkumar handed himself over to the police days later. The case is continuing.
DA councillor Chris Pappas said gang and drug-related crimes and violence were on the rise in Sydenham.
“We’ve seen an increase in the violence between rival gangs operating from Butcher and Matlock roads. Innocent people are being caught in the crossfire.”
He said gang bosses were known and he blamed the police for not acting.
“The police have been given information for numerous years and from numerous sources, but (they) haven’t taken action aimed at ending the violence or domination by the gangs. Sydenham SAPS and the Durban Central cluster have failed us.”
Pappas said specialised anti-gang units should be deployed to Sydenham, Newlands, Wentworth and other hot spots “before it’s too late”.
“We need decisive action before our lives and the future of our communities become a political football.”
Sydenham CPF communications officer Satish Dhupelia said: “There’s tension in the community but we cannot link it to anything. We need an anti-drug unit to disband the use and sale of drugs.”
Thring’s funeral will be held on Saturday at Souls Outreach Church.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said a case of murder was opened.