'my baby lost an eye'

Sipho Masombuka

Sipho Masombuka

The mother of a 16-year-old girl who lost an eye after she was accidentally hit by a rubber bullet last year is bitter because the police inquiry into the incident has been discontinued.

Martha Ndlovu, 54, of Mmakaunyane village at Winterveldt in North West, cried bitterly this week when she was told by police that the inquiry was abandoned because no one could be held responsible for seriously injuring her daughter Charlotte.

The girl was injured when police fired rubber bullets to disperse a mob that had apprehended a suspected criminal in the village in June.

The teenage girl had just arrived home from church and was inside her family's yard when the rubber bullet hit her.

On Monday, local police commissioner Captain Kobus le Roux announced that the inquiry had been discontinued.

"Statements taken from police officers deployed on the day indicate they had acted properly in controlling the crowd, so the girl was hit accidentally," he said.

Le Roux said the only option the girl had open to her was to lodge a civil claim against the ministry of safety and security.

A tearful Ndlovu said: "My baby was not part of the mob and was hit in my yard. I gave birth to a perfect baby but now my child has to spend her whole life with an artificial eye because somebody decided to shoot wildly."

She said what pained her most was that the police did not inform her about this decision.

Charlotte, whose dream of becoming a pilot was shattered by the rubber bullet, said: "Even though the police have ruined my future, God will help me.

"It is even more painful to know that I will never know who damaged my eye, but I know that somehow, that person will pay," said the Grade 11 pupil.