Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
SOME allegedly trigger-happy cops fired bullets at toddlers while driving through Mashishing township in Mpumalanga - while trying to disperse crowds during recent service delivery protests.
Our men in blue uniform allegedly:
lFired two rubber bullets into the forehead and right cheek of three-year-old Neo Khumalo;
lShot at Mongezi Maila, 6, hitting him above the right eye with a rubber bullet;
lFired a live bullet that ripped through teenager Emily Madonsela's right cheek;
lHeld Sfiso Nkosi to the ground and fired one bullet into his penis, another into his buttock and one under his arm;
lShot Jacob Malakane dead; and
lDragged Marcus Masilela, 38, out of his yard and shot him twice in the leg, apparently because he refused to make a self-implicatingstatement.
Although the alleged incidents took place during the June service delivery protests, Mpumalanga police have managed to keep a lid on these horrifying accounts until today.
Sowetan can exclusively reveal that a lawyer, Maditsi Mphela, is to sue the police to the tune of R10million on behalf of the alleged victims. And this figure could rise to a staggering R20million if more alleged victims - believed to have fled the township - come forward.
Mphela said he had served Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa's office with a statutory notice and that summons would be served soon.
"This was clearly not maintenance of law and order.
"You do not shoot a three-year-old in the face and claim it was administration of justice. You do not got to hospitals and intimidate the victims. You do not shoot people in their own houses. Once you do this you have exceeded the bounds of self-defence," said Mphela.
Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, Bertha Khumalo, 64, a grandmother of one of the toddlers, said she was sitting on her verandah when police drove past their house, shooting randomly.
"I heard a scream and when I looked up my grandson was on the ground. A neighbour told the police about what they had done but they just drove on," said the pensioner.
Sfiso Nkosi, another alleged victim, said: "Two officers held my arms and the other put a gun to my penis and pulled the trigger. They then told me to go and sleep."
In another account, and speaking with difficulty, Emily Madonsela said she was returning from a shop with her mother when she was hit in the hand by a rubber bullet.
"As I turned I felt another bullet rip through my cheek. I know the officer who did this," she said.
This comes against the backdrop of Mthethwa's shoot-to-kill comments and a shocking report that police were spending more than half of their budget on compensating victims of police brutality.
Spokesperson for national Police Commissioner Bheki Cele, Nonkululeko Mbatha, said they were not aware of the incidents until Sowetan contacted her.
"We will determine a way forward after establishing the facts," she said