Mother seeks justice for son

2018-06-05 06:01
Ziyanda Nguqu says her family is under strain as they no longer sleep properly due to having to care for her son.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

Ziyanda Nguqu says her family is under strain as they no longer sleep properly due to having to care for her son.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

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A local family is still in shock after 11-year-old Iyanda Nguqu was burned, allegedly by a neighbour, while playing next to the neighbour’s home in Imizamo Yethu.

Ziyanda Nguqu, the boy’s mother, says family members have been struggling to sleep since the incident, as they have to keep comforting Iyanda who sometimes cries in his sleep or complains about the pain from his wounds.

Iyanda was reportedly playing with his two cousins near the suspect’s house when they suddenly saw “her sneaking up on them, carrying a bucket of water”.

“We started running but she threw the water anyway. We immediately ran home for help. One neighbour called my grandmother and they removed my clothes and rushed me to the police. We were sent to the fire station where we received help and an ambulance was called. I was in pain and disbelief,” says Iyanda

Only Iyanda suffered severe injuries and was rushed to hospital. The other two sustained slight injuries and were sent home.

Iyanda suffered a serious burn wound to his back, as well as minor injuries to his neck and head.

He says the back wound itches most of the time and becomes worse at night.

“I struggle to sleep, I get flashbacks and I’m scared of the lady. I don’t know why she burned us now because we have always played and she never said anything. Usually, neighbours would tell us when we are wrong and we would stop, but she did not say a word. I don’t know what could have made her so angry.”

Nguqu says she has opened a case with the police but she is disappointed that other affected parents are reluctant to report the matter due to rumours of compensation promised by the perpetrator’s brother if the matter is not reported. She says the brother visited her family to apologise on his sister’s behalf, explaining that she is mentally ill and his family would seek help for her. “There have been no signs or any talks about her condition now. I want justice for my child and I have faith that police will do their job. If she did it to these children, who knows what she will do next?”

Meanwhile, Duncan Mpande, the father of one of the injured children, says he was deeply hurt by the incident but has decided not to report it for the sake of peace in the community. “People are talking out there. I do not know what will happen if we take this further. I cannot afford any scandal, this is my only home here. I have faith in God, He will handle this because I cannot understand what kind of person would do this to young children. It is heartbreaking but my child is doing fine. Yes he is frightened but I believe he will get through this.”

Hout Bay police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch, says the suspect was arrested for assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. She appeared briefly in court on Friday 25 May and the case was remanded. Police could not provide more information.

Lesch says: “These kinds of incidents are not common, but any crime against a child should be reported so that a follow-up can be made and could lead to a case being opened or other intervention.”

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