DURBAN – A grieving mother, accompanied by dozens of neighbours walked the body of her dead two-week-old child into the Sydenham police station on Monday.
Residents of the Foreman Road informal settlement in Clare Estate claim that baby Jayden Khoza died during a police raid on the settlement on Monday.
According to a statement by Abahlali baseMjondolo, a civic organisation that represents informal settlement dwellers, Jayden died after a '"brutal police attack".
"Abahali baseMjondolo are now marching on the Sydenham police station with the body of the baby. Others have been injured and there was one arrest," the statement said.
According to Abahali, residents of Foreman Road informal settlement took to the streets on Monday in a service delivery protest.
"The police responded by attacking the settlement as a whole with fists, batons, rubber bullets and tear gas," Abahali baseMjondolo spokesman, Thapelo Mohapi said.
"Many shacks filled up with teargas. Children started crying, coughing and vomiting. Residents told the police that they were putting the children in grave danger. However, the police continued the attack.These road blockades, and this police attack, do not come out of nowhere. Comrades in Foreman Road have been organising and protesting for land and housing, and in defence of their human dignity since 2005. They have suffered a number of serious police attacks over the years," he said.
Last week, Forerman Road residents closed off Clare Road by barricading it with tyres, rocks and debris which they then set alight. They protested the apparent exclusion of the informal settlement from the eThekwini ward 25 budget.
Police spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane said an inquest docket is being investigated by Sydenham police in connection with the infant's death.
"The cause of death is unknown at this stage and a post-mortem will be conducted to determine the cause of death," Zwane said.
"In the early hours of this morning community members embarked on an illegal protest, blockading the road with burning tyres and rubble in the Sydenham area. The situation is still tense and the police are still at the scene to stabilise the situation. Police always use minimum force when dealing with such illegal and violent protest actions," he said.