Pretoria - Eersterust protesters on Thursday blocked Hans Coverdale Road after claiming a 60-year-old man died of tear gas inhalation during the service delivery protests that rocked the area on Wednesday. In the early morning calm had been restored following the violent protest of the day before.
But from about noon clusters of groups began mobilising again, with the general consensus being that the police had to pay for killing the man. They started collecting tyres and writing placards, accusing police of killing Arthur Moses. Moses’s landlord, Brendan Jacobs, told the Pretoria News that at around 3pm on Wednesday they were sitting under a tree in the backyard while the protests were going on.
Three canisters of tear gas fired by police landed near his home, and Moses inhaled some of it, he said. “During the commotion of police dispersing the crowds, some protesters ran into my yard to take cover. Police must have fired the tear gas near the yard, that is when the old man inhaled the teargas,” he said on Thursday. According to Jacobs, Moses immediately grabbed his chest and ran for cover into his corrugated iron shack.
“He was coughing profusely and grabbing his chest with both hands. His eyes were also watering,” he said. Moses asked for an asthma pump, which the asthmatic Jacobs rushed to fetch from his house. After a couple of sprays Moses said he felt better but his chest was still tight. “After the commotion settled we walked around the yard to get some fresh air. He wasn’t looking good, and asked to lie down to sleep off the pain.”
Jacobs said they wanted to take him to the hospital but there was too much chaos outside. According to Moses’s caregiver, Venessa Phala, he was a healthy man who fixed electronics around the community. “The only thing Arthur suffered from was arthritis,” she said.