Pretoria - The South African National Civic Organisation on Monday called for a probe into why the Sandringham police station in Johannesburg declined at the weekend to open a culpable homicide case against a driver who allegedly fatally ran over one-year-old Britney Ruguwa at a daycare centre.
The little girl died on Saturday after being run over within the premises of the Busy Bears daycare centre in Rembrandt Park, where her mother Chiedza Sjambok had dropped her off in the morning on her way to work. Sjambok said her family's efforts to get Sandringham police to arrest the driver failed.
"We are appalled by the reports that the police did not apprehend the motorist and instead they turned away little Britney's mother and told her to come back to the police station on Monday as it was a weekend," Sanco's first deputy president Packet Seaketso said.
"Sanco calls on the South African Police Service to speedily investigate this matter and take action against the police officers who failed to open a case against the motorist. It is incidents of this nature that dent the credibility and image of the police to the detriment of all other hardworking officers."
An initial case of reckless and negligent driving opened by Sandringham police was changed to culpable homicide on Sunday, but no arrest was made.
Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters told African News Agency (ANA) that the circumstances surrounding the accident and the death of the toddler would be investigated.
"Also, a preliminary investigation is underway in the event that should an arrest be effected, the arrest will be within the confines of the law towards a prosecutable case," Peters said. "The station commander [of Sandringham police station] has engaged with the family and will duly ensure that the family is updated on the progress of the case."
Chiedza Sjambok said when her family attempted to get the driver arrested on Saturday evening, police told them he had been at the station earlier but was allowed to leave.
"I have lost my bundle of joy, and this is what I get from police," an inconsolable Sjambok told ANA, adding that police had advised the family to get a lawyer.
Sjambok said the original message she received from the daycare centre was that little Britney was in hospital after falling.
"It was only at the hospital that I got to know that my little angel was fighting for her life, on life support," she said.
African News Agency (ANA)