Grief-stricken grandmother recalls events leading to teen’s death

Police brutality has been blamed for the death of a teenager during a community protest in Joe Slovo Park near Eldorado Park in the south of Johannesburg on Monday.

Speaking to Sunday World on Wednesday, Masello Chaka, the grandmother of the late 16-year-old Karabo Chaka, recalled events leading up to her grandchild’s death.

She said Karabo was not part of the protest, noting that the boy was on his way to her residence when he was shot.

“I hate 1.30pm, that is the time my boy was killed by a policeman. It is terrible, I have a heart problem and I have been crying ever since Monday,” said Chaka.

“He celebrated his birthday last week. He was not killed by a rubber bullet, the police used live ammunition.

“I want the government to take my son home to the Free State and bury him. The police officer who killed my boy must be arrested.” 

It is not the first time that Chaka is pleading for justice.

“My 36-year-old son was murdered on July 9 2022, and now my grandson on July 31 2023.

“I have been pleading for justice for a year now. I wrote a letter to request for justice, and right now I have still not received justice a year later. The police ask what makes the case of my son so special.”

Joe Slovo Park community leader Noko Malatji said: “It is said that the family of the boy has already opened a case of murder. His body is at the government mortuary where a post-mortem will be done.

“I think that those who are investigating and the police should take responsibility for the murder of this child. The community is upset.”

Gauteng police spokesperson Mavela Masondo said the cause of death cannot be confirmed at this stage.

“The case will be transferred to Ipid [Independent Police Investigative Directorate] for further investigation,” said Masondo.

Malatji detailed the reasons for the protest.

“Our biggest issue is service delivery and safety. Our government promised to start work in our community by the end of June but did not deliver,” said Malatji.

“Our request was made in May and leaders went to meet with them in town throughout June and July. This is what fueled the community with so much anger.

“Another issue in our community has high rates of crime and there is no police visibility. For all the crimes that happen in our area, there is not justice.

“There is no close police station, ambulance or clinic for the people of Slovo Park. This makes it easier for criminals and for people to get killed.”

Malatji made a desperate plea to those in charge, including Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi and community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko, to come to the rescue of the community.


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