Brothers Sebastian, 27, and Demaine Pillay, 25, from Summerstrand had made several appearances in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on charges of assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm. Picture: Raahil Sain/ANA
Durban – Since a firecracker exploded in his mouth four months ago, leaving him unable to talk, Shane Witbooi’s life has come to a standstill.

The Grade 7 pupil at Rufane Donkin Primary has not been to school since the beginning of the year, but has been recovering at his home in Gelvandale, Port Elizabeth.

Brothers Sebastian, 27, and Demaine Pillay, 25, from Summerstrand had made several appearances in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on charges of assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm.

But the charges were provisionally withdrawn by the court on April 6, according to Eastern Cape police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu.

Naidu said it was alleged that at about 2am on January 7, three men had approached two vagrants in the parking lot of a popular club in Beach Road, Humewood and offered them a "cigarette", which turned out to be a firecracker.

“The younger person, a 12-year-old child, accepted it. The 'cigarette' was allegedly lit by one of the three men and, seconds later, it blew up in the child's face.”

Naidu said the police were alerted and the suspects' vehicle was traced to a house in Summerstrand.

“We discovered that the suspects are sons of a police officer stationed in Gelvandale. The child was admitted to hospital for facial burns. His family was traced, but at the time he was hanging out with vagrants on the beachfront.”

Naidu said the Pillay brothers were subsequently charged.

She added that the child was still undergoing psychological assessments and was unable to give a formal statement.

“Once a statement is obtained, the matter will be placed back on the court roll.”

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