Fatal bump still waiting for justice

2014-08-13 00:00

QUESTIONS about the investigation into the death of four-year-old Calym “Ziggy” Isaacs are haunting his grieving grandfather.

Neville Jones, a businessman, said more than two months following his grandson’s death in an accident at Sevontein prison, the family still awaits a police case number.

Ziggy died after allegedly being hit by a vehicle driven by a warder while playing soccer with friends in a field inside the Sevontein Correctional Centre in Elandskop on May 24.

Jones was in tears describing how his grandson died. He said his daughter Jessica, a warder there, asked how the accident could occur on a road with a 40 km speed limit. He said what frustrated his family the most was that it seemed that the correct procedures were not followed.

“The centre is 40 km away from the city so it is supposed to have an emergency contingency plan,” he said.

Jones said as far as he understands the prison is supposed have two fully kitted out ambulances, one for members and another for inmates. “But there was no ambulance available and officials did not activate the helicopter, which is the norm in emergency situations,” he said.

Jones believes the child died because he wasn’t given oxygen, saying Ziggy was turning blue. He said the nursing sister on scene went to fetch oxygen but when she didn’t return quickly, his father rushed him to Pietermaritzburg. “But Ziggy died on the road and was pronounced dead at MediClinic Hospital,” said Jones.

Jones said they believe those investigating the matter are dragging their heels.

“We know it was an accident and we forgive the driver, but forgiveness and justice are two different things,” he said.

Jones said they wanted closure on this matter but this could only occur once the matter is heard by a court of law.

He said they have been told the reason for the delay in the investigation was due to the outstanding autopsy results. “We find this very strange because we have the autopsy results. Why can’t they go to Fort Napier to get them like we did?” he said.

Jones said, “All we want to know is how this became a fatality.”

Jones said the family missed Ziggy’s smile and sharp wit. “He was very friendly and very smart for his age. You could talk to him about everything, including things that four-year-olds wouldn’t understand,” Jones said smiling at the thought of him.

KWAZULU-NATAL Correctional Services regional commissioner Mnikelwa Nxele said in a statement the accident was attended to by a sister from the prison hospital. “... She established he was unconscious, breathing abnormally, with an injury on the side of his head which was bleeding,” said ­Nxele.

He said when Ziggy’s father arrived, the sister told him Ziggy required oxygen and arranged to “get the oxygen from the prison hospital”.

“The sister and the driver rushed to fetch the oxygen but when they came back, they found the child’s father had already driven off with him to Pietermaritzburg,” he said.

“... It was unfortunate because the oxygen was on its way and he just missed it,” said Nxele.

He said a psychologist was sent to counsel the family.

“We have temporarily transferred the father to Pietermaritzburg Med A and the driver has been transferred to Sevontein Comcor, where he will have no contact with the family until the investigation is concluded,” said Nxele.

Nxele said Taylor’s Halt police station could not provide them with a case number. He failed to address the allegation of no ambulances at the prison.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said Pietermaritzburg police initially attended to the incident on May 24. “A case of culpable homicide was opened and the case was later transferred to Taylor’s Halt police station as the scene of accident,” said Naicker.

He said the investigating officer is in constant contact with the father and all the necessary investigations were done, however, detectives are awaiting the post mortem report.

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