One-year-old killed at Gauteng creche, family claims cops turned them away
Johannesburg - The family of one-year-old Britney Ruguwa who died when she was allegedly run over by a speeding vehicle within her creche's premises on Saturday, have claimed that Sandringham police officers turned them away without opening a case.
"We were even at the Sandringham [South African Police Service] SAPS [on Saturday] evening begging the police officers to arrest the driver, but they tell us we should return on Monday as it is a weekend. The police said the motorist was at the station earlier, and they let him walk. I have lost my bundle of joy, and this is what I get from police," Britney's inconsolable mother Chiedza Sjambok told African News Agency (ANA).
Sjambok said she dropped her child at the creche as she was going to work on Saturday morning.
"I received a message from someone saying he is the 'husband of the principal Sikhanyiso', saying they are trying to call me. When I called back, they told me to meet them at Edenvale Hospital because my child has fallen. It was only at the hospital that I got to know that my little angel was fighting for her life, on life support," Sjambok said.
Britney's aunt Veronica alleged the police officers at Sandringham told them they could not open a case because it was "a weekend".
"We were really shocked to hear that we need to come to the station on Monday to open a case. The same police officers tell us that the motorist was at the police station and opened a case of mere negligence. An innocent child is lying in the mortuary right now and we are told to come back on Monday. Doesn't the police work on weekends? This adds massive pain to our sorrow right now.
"Police told us the driver was not arrested. Right now, our neighbours tell us the same driver is driving around with his car. We feel let down by the creche and the police," Veronica said.
African News Agency visited the Sandringham police station on Saturday evening, but police officers referred questions to the station's spokesperson listed on a flashing board as Captain MM Mamabolo, and the station commander given only as L Ndlovu. Both did not answer their mobile phones listed in the police station.
Gauteng police spokesperson, Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said the matter was under investigation.
"Condolences to the family on the tragic loss of their child. I have contacted the police station commander and he will immediately look into the matter to firstly ensure that the family gets police assistance, and to also look into the allegations that the family was turned away," said Peters in a response to African News Agency. This matter will receive the necessary attention."
At around midnight on Saturday, family and flocked into the family residence along Pasteur Road in Rembrandt Park to express condolences. Women were screaming and wailing while others told stories of how little Britney loved her aunt Veronica.
"We want answers. People must be held accountable. Can a one-year-old take care of herself? That is why we had trusted the day care centre with her custody. Right now, nobody is saying anything," Veronica said.
African News Agency/ANA