A grieving family from Philippi East are demanding justice for their 7-year-old daughter Cwenga Mafenuka who was shot dead during a protest over illegal electricity. Picture: Supplied
A grieving family from Philippi East are demanding justice for their 7-year-old daughter Cwenga Mafenuka who was shot dead during a protest over illegal electricity. Picture: Supplied

Family demand justice for girl, 7, killed by stray bullet during June protest

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Aug 26, 2020

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Cape Town - A grieving family from the Madikizela informal settlement in Philippi East are demanding justice for their 7-year-old daughter who was shot dead during a protest over illegal electricity.

It has been more than two months since Cwenga Mafenuka was struck in the head by a stray bullet on June 16.

Her family allege she was shot by a private security guard who had been hired by Plaza Philippi Shopping Centre.

Her mother, Nokubonga, claimed that the TSU security personnel used live ammunition when dispersing protesters.

She said when the protest was happening she (Nokubonga) was busy with her laundry inside her home, “and I heard gunshots and people running all over the streets.”

“After closing the door, my 5-year-old child came running from the other room, telling me that Mafenuka was shot. When I entered the room, my child was down on the floor, bleeding non-stop,” Nokubonga said.

She said she tried calling for help until someone arrived with his car and they went to the KTC Gugulethu Community Health Centre, where Mafenuka succumbed to her injuries.

“All I want is justice,” she said.

A look at the wall where the stray bullet entered. Picture: Supplied
The window where the stray bullet entered which went on to hit Cwenga Mafenuka. Picture: Supplied

Nokubonga showed the Cape Argus her conversation with the Philippi East Police Station’s Detective Fhatuwani Rafonyolodzi, who was probing the case.

On their WhatsApp conversation, Rafonyolodzi said he managed to get the bullet from Mafenuka’s head and would take it to the laboratory on July 31.

On August 14, Rafonyolodzi sent a text to Nokubonga alerting her that the results were back, but he said he was not at work at the time.

Nokubonga also said while they were with her daughter at the hospital, another man, Zamuxolo Xosa, 33, was shot in the stomach while running for cover during that protest.

Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said cases of murder and attempted murder were registered for investigation at Philippi East Police Station. Van Wyk said no arrests had been made yet.

“The investigating officer consulted with the complainant, and had a meeting with them on Monday,” said Van Wyk.

TSU Protection Services (the accused security company) operations manager Corne Vermeulen said he was not going to comment on the death of Mafenuka. However, he said it was not due to them, “that I can confirm”.

However, he said they were deployed in the area: “For more than five years, we have been deployed in that area.

“We work the whole of the community, all the way from Makhaza, Athlone and Langa to Blue Downs.”

Luyolo Twalo of L Twalo Attorneys said they were recently appointed to investigate the death of Mafenuka.

“We will find out how far the case has come. We need to find out from the police who is responsible for this.”

Anyone with information can contact the Crime Stop number 08600 10111, SMS Crime Line at 32211 or through the MySAPSApp.

Cape Argus

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