The death of a four-year-old boy, killed in a hit-and-run in Joe Slovo, sparked angry scenes in the township and accusations of police negligence.
Joe Slovo residents say Milnerton police only visited the crime scene 24 hours after the little boy was killed on Saturday.
But police say they were alerted to the child’s death at Milnerton Mediclinic and it was to the hospital that officers went on the same day.
“On their arrival at the clinic, they were informed about the toddler of 4 years old who was run over by a vehicle in Joe Slovo area, the driver of the bakkie ran away,” said Captain Nopaya Madyibi.
Warrant Officer Henry Beaming, the investigating officer, told Tabletalk he had instructed uniformed officers on the day of the child’s death to go to the crime scene, although he could not confirm whether they had done so on the same day or the day after.
According to Warrant Officer Beaming, witnesses described seeing a white single-cab Ford Ranger bakkie picking up thee passengers in Democracy Way. The bakkie knocked the child down as it pulled off. All the occupants climbed out and the driver pulled the child out from under the bakkie and then, telling the passengers he was going to the police station to report himself, he drove off. But the driver did not report the case.
Warrant Officer Beaming said he did not want to release the suspect’s name before speaking to more witnesses. Police have also not yet released the child’s name.
At a community meeting on Monday night, residents heard all the details of the accident and what happened afterwards.
According to Joe Slovo Crisis Committee member, Noxolo Mayeki, residents were furious, accusing those who witnessed the incident of doing nothing to apprehend the man.
“The little boy was walking with his older sister on Saturday afternoon trying to buy amanqina (chicken feet) at one of the many food and fruit stalls in Democracy Way,” she said.
Ms Mayeki said stallholders had been accused of trying to protect the driver.
“The angry residents trashed some of the stalls there, demanding to know who the driver was because they suspected he was known.
“The next day, it came out that the ladies at these stalls are Zimbabwean and they knew who the driver was but chose to keep quiet because they feared for the driver’s life and he’s also Zimbabwean,” she said.
Tabletalk tried to speak to several stallholders in Democracy Way, but they declined to comment.
Tabletalk tried to contact the little boy’s family, but a neighbour said they were too distraught to talk to the media.
Joe Slovo resident Abigail Nonke said Joe Slovo’s roads had been a problem for a long time.
“There are no pavements here, and we live having to dodge cars speeding past every day. A lot of these roads look like one-way streets, but it’s still expected that cars coming from both directions can use them,” she said.
Anyone with information about the case can call Warrant Officer Beaming at 072 714 5569.