Taegrin Morris' death unites neighbours

2014-07-27 15:00

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Taegrin Morris was a carefree four-year-old who died terrified and in great painb.

But his gruesome death has brought the residents of Reiger Park – an area divided by crime, poverty and hopelessness – together.

At a funeral service at Reiger Park Stadium near Boksburg yesterday, little Taegrin – who dreamed of being an engineer and, the day before his death, insisted his neighbours sing him Happy Birthday even though he was only turning five in September – was hailed as a hero.

His brutal death has left his family and the country reeling.

In an interview with City Press’ sister paper Rapport this week, Elwin Morris’ eyes burned with pain, heartache and rage as he spoke about his son’s death.

Taegrin, his mother and eight-year-old sister Erin were in the family car last Saturday night when three armed men attacked them.

“The extremely gruesome manner in which they killed my child ... that’s the hardest. That they pulled him for 8.5km next to a car without the basic humanity to stop and free him from his seat belt. If they’d just rather left him there, next to the road...” she trailed off.

“Jail time isn’t going to do it for me. Every night I ask myself: What will I do if the hijackers are freed one day and I see them on the street? Smile at them and say ‘hello’? Throttle the life out of them? Because that’s how our justice system works. The guys go to jail and after 10 years they’re released on parole for good behaviour.

“Then I must face them, when I know how much they hurt my son.”

At the funeral, speaker after speaker called on the hundreds of people there to make the area safe again by flushing out drug dealers, hijackers and other criminals.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura said: “The community knows who these hijackers are. We must find the men and drive them out.”

Apostle Jerry Joubert of the New Apostolic Church told the congregation: “Taegrin’s death should challenge us to ask if this is the life we want to live in Reiger Park. We know what is happening and sometimes we participate by buying things that have been stolen.” He also cautioned against vigilantism. – Additional reporting by Hanlie Retief

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