Anger as driver who ran over toddler at Joburg crèche walks free
PRETORIA - The mother of one-year-old Britney Ruguwa who died at a daycare centre in Johannesburg, in April, after being run over by a car, on Monday wept uncontrollably as she spoke of learning that the driver of the vehicle had been released.
“I was sitting in the public gallery of the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court last week but I could not believe my ears. Even now, I keep telling myself that I heard wrongly. This cannot be true. How can the justice system let go of the man who admits to have driven over my child, killing her?
"I do not believe it’s true. Is the justice system saying my daughter was wrong? All I am seeking is justice for my daughter so that I can explain to her brother and sister how she died,” Chiedza Sjambok told African News Agency as she wept.
“I saw the accused man walking out of court, but I am in disbelief. Something is not right. How can one drive over a child and then the courts let him walk scot-free? My child died a painful death, being squashed by a moving vehicle. Was I wrong to take my daughter to that daycare centre? Not even one person has said 'sorry', since April.”
The little girl died on 13 April after being run over within the premises of the Busy Bears daycare centre in Rembrandt Park, where her mother Chiedza had dropped her off in the morning on her way to work.
Jonathan Zulu was later arrested after civil society groups piled pressure on the Sandringham police station in Johannesburg.
On Monday, the National Prosecuting Authority’s Gauteng spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said the case had been “withdrawn”.
“The matter was withdrawn last Friday. The accused [Jonathan Zulu] made representations to the National Prosecuting Authority and they were successful,” said Mjonondwane.
Britney’s father, Nick Ruguwa, said his family did not even know the Legal Aid attorney who was representing them in this case.
“Even the investigating officer, a Mr Manaka from Sandringham police station, does not talk to us. This case it haunting us. My wife, Chiedza, attended the court sessions five times but at all appearances, we still do not know what happened, until the accused walked free. My wife weeps everytime she sees the creche principal in the neighbourhood. I try and comfort her, but she weeps uncontrollably,” said Ruguwa.
“We have been kept in the dark, until the end. We know nothing, we do not even know who was the prosecutor. We have not moved a centimetre from that incident which happened in April.”
Days after the fatal incident, the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) called for a probe into why the Sandringham police station initially declined to open a culpable homicide case against Zulu.
Sanco’s Packet Seaketso at the time told African News Agency that the manner police had treated the parents was “appalling”.
An initial case of reckless and negligent driving was opened, but as pressure mounted, the docket was changed to culpable homicide.
African News Agency (ANA)