Pupil shot in mouth in PE protest

2016-09-14 14:01
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PICS: Rubber bullets and rocks fly in Meyerton protest

View pics from the demonstrations in Meyerton, where residents are demanding better service delivery.

Pietermaritzburg - The mother of a school pupil who was shot in the mouth with a rubber bullet, allegedly by police during a service delivery protest, wants answers about what happened.

“I cannot understand how anyone can just shoot at a crowd when there are children around,” Thembi Soni told News24 on Monday.

“My child was wearing a school uniform, which clearly distinguished him and other schoolmates from the crowd. This use of force was uncalled for and somebody must account for this,” she said.

Skhumbuzo Soni, 10, suffered a split upper lip and needed reconstructive surgery after he was struck by a rubber bullet police allegedly fired during a service delivery protest on Friday morning.

Thembi said she learned from Facebook on Friday afternoon that her son had been shot.

“The picture of him bleeding made me feel helpless, because I was just imagining the pain that he was going through, and the possibility that he may even be dead,” she said.


Skhumbuzo was injured on Friday morning. Paramedics, however, only got him to hospital that evening because protesters had blocked all points of access to the area. Residents were unhappy about their water supply.   

“He was taken to the local clinic where staff did well to stop the bleeding, but that is all they could do,” Thembi said.

Because of the delay in reaching the hospital, Skhumbuzo’s lip could not be stitched and he would need reconstructive surgery. The weekend had been difficult as the boy was crying from pain and had been taking painkillers, she said.

The Grade 4 pupil at Willowfontein Primary School said he was on his way home and did not participate in the protest.  They had been told to go home as teachers were unable to get to school because of the blockades.

They heard shots while walking past the protesters.

“Moments later I realised that I was injured. It was very painful.”

This week Skhumbuzo had another appointment at Edendale Hospital to determine the extent of his injury.

Police spokesperson Captain Musa Ntombela could not confirm that a pupil was shot. He said 25 people were arrested for public violence and three for obstruction of justice.

Protests over water supply had become common in Pietermaritzburg since the Msunduzi municipality imposed water restrictions because of the drought.

Read more on:    protests

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