Child killed in fight over beer

2008-08-25 00:00

A FIGHT that started over homebrewed alcohol ended with the death of a one-year-old. She was struck on the head with a stone in an informal settlement near Copesville in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday evening.

Sanelisiwe Windile Faith Zuma was killed instantly by a stone thrown at her mother, Bhono Zuma (24), in Skomplaas at about 7 pm. She died in her mother’s arms.

Her alleged killer, a 22-year-old man, was arrested after turning himself in at the Mountain Rise police station yesterday morning.

“I was sitting on the veranda breastfeeding my baby when this man appeared from the corner of the house and threw one stone and hit my baby on the forehead,” said Zuma.

She said the altercation started at about 6 pm when the man, who was not known in the area, entered Zuma’s house, where her family sells homebrewed beer.

“He was in a company of a boy of about 10 years. He rudely asked our patrons why they were buying ‘nonsense’ beer. He kicked one container full of beer.

“My mother intervened and told him to leave the house. But he slapped my mother across the face. We intervened and he ran away,” said Zuma.

Zuma said a few minutes later, as she was walking to a nearby shop, the man appeared and felled her with a stone.

Her mother came to her rescue, hitting the man on the head with a beer bottle.

A few minutes later, Zuma took her crying baby girl and started breastfeeding her on the veranda. But the man returned and pelted her with stones, hitting little Sanelisiwe on the forehead.

“After being hit with a stone, my baby cried twice and collapsed. I ran with her to her father, who asked a neighbour to rush us to hospital, where she was pronounced dead,” said Zuma.

Zuma’s neighbour said they have seen the suspect a few times in the area before, but have never spoken to him.

“I’m sure he is new in the area,” said one neighbour.

Sanelisiwe’s father, Zolani Mpisi, said he saw blood coming out of his child’s nose and ears.

“I was with this man [the suspect] at another shebeen at about 4 pm. We spoke for the first since I saw him in the area. We exchanged greetings and shook hands. He told me his name and we drank nicely. I was shocked when I heard that he had killed my child,” said Mpisi.

Police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan said the man will appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court shortly.

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