Shot in mouth during water protest

2016-09-21 06:00
PHOTO:supplied 10 year old Skhumbuzo Soni who was shot on his way to school during a water protest in Willowfontein.

PHOTO:supplied 10 year old Skhumbuzo Soni who was shot on his way to school during a water protest in Willowfontein.

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A WATER shortage protest in Willowfontein last Friday took a turn for the worse when a 10 year-old boy was seriously injured after being shot in the mouth.

Skhumbuzo Soni, a Grade 3 pupil at Willowfontein Primary School, was shot in the mouth with a rubber bullet on his way to school when police tried to disperse a crowd of angry residents who had barricaded the road with burning tyres and rocks.

Skhumbuzo’s distraught mother Thembi Soni said she heard via Facebook that her son had been injured during the protest.

“I was at work when I saw a picture of my son’s bloodied face on Facebook and I became hysterical; I am angry because he was just on his way to school and was not part of the crowd that was protesting.

“He was in school uniform and the police should have seen that there were school children passing by before firing carelessly into the crowd.”

Soni said her son lost a lot of blood and when other community members called for an ambulance, they were told it would not come because the area was volatile.

“He had to wait until I got back home around 4pm to get the medical attention he required. The rubber bullet cracked his upper lip and also damaged his teeth. When we got to the hospital, doctors said they couldn’t stitch him up because he was brought in too late and his mouth was too swollen. His upper lip was split open and even now it’s still swollen.”

Soni said her son has not been to school since Friday and complains of severe pain.

“It’s painful for me as a parent to watch him suffer like this. He can’t even sleep at night; he is always crying and complains that he is in pain.

“He also can’t eat solid foods because he can’t chew properly. I’m worried he may need surgery due to the extent of his injuries.”

Soni said she had reported the matter to the police but no formal case had been opened.

“I am still waiting. The police were supposed to visit my house so I could lay a formal charge. I want justice for my son. I cannot believe that the police were so brutal and shot a 10 year old boy. Someone must be held accountable for this.

“I want you to use the picture of my son’s bloodied face so that the whole world can see how brutal police are.

“What they did has put me and my family through hell. They almost killed my son and no one has even come to me to offer an apology.”

Residents in Willowfontein say they have not had water in over six months. They also complained that the water tankers that have been dispatched by the municipality to deliver water in the area sometimes do not come for an entire week.

Plessislaer police spokesperson Captain Musa Ntombela said the police were still trying to assist the family in opening a case.

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