Nokulunga Mafenuka’s daughter Cwenga was killed on June 16 during a community protest to forcefully connect electricity in their homes. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)
Nokulunga Mafenuka’s daughter Cwenga was killed on June 16 during a community protest to forcefully connect electricity in their homes. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

'The thought of seeing my child die in that manner didn’t allow me to give up’

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Aug 26, 2020

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Cape Town - While the family of 8-year-old Clarence Solomons mourn his death, a Philippi East family is still reeling three months after the death of 7-year-old Cwenga Mafenuka.

Clarence, from the Range, near Epping Forest, was killed by a stray bullet that hit him in the chest while he was playing with his friends on Monday.

A 12-year-old girl who is currently in hospital was also wounded during the incident, as law enforcement officers who were protecting the social housing unit from land invaders came under fire from unknown suspects.

Cwenga was killed on June 16 during a community protest to forcefully connect electricity in their homes. Protesters ran towards her home when a private security firm allegedly fired shots to disperse them.

Her distraught mother, Nokulunga Mafenuka, said she was in another room when gunshots went off. She ran to fetch her children outside.

“They went to sit in the room that is facing the road. Just when I was starting to get busy again, the younger brother came running, shouting that Cwenga had been shot. I found her lying on the floor in a pool of blood, with a bullet wound in the forehead. The stray bullet pierced the window and hit her.

“We passed the security guards standing beside their cars labelled ‘TSU’; they were still shooting at protesters who were running in-between our shacks,” she said.

She said the investigating officer only visited them last week to inspect the place where the child was shot.

“Even before he came, I have been trying to follow up and he would give me short, vague answers. I was so frustrated; I didn’t know who to turn to and was losing hope on the case. But the thought of seeing my child die in that manner didn’t allow me to give up,” she said.

Mafenuka is demanding that the company compensate the family.

Corne Vermeulen, spokesperson for TSU Protection Services, said although their security guards were deployed on that day in the area, they had no part in any incident related to the death of community members.

“TSU Protection Services was not deployed to attend to electricity issues experienced by the communities. We have a standard deployment daily in the larger Cape Flats area looking after clients in the retail sector. Our presence is normal on a daily basis,” he said.

Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said cases of murder and attempted murder were lodged for investigation at Philippi East police station.

“No arrest has been yet and investigations continue. The investigating officer still consulted with the complainant, and had a meeting with them on Monday,” he said.

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