Authorities are yet to decide whether to arrest and charge a police officer who fatally knocked down a child in an alleged hit-and-run accident in KwaThema on the East Rand over two months ago.
Blessing Chibaya, 15, died on the township’s Vlakfontein Road on January 14 at about 2.20pm.
Her death sparked outrage among residents who told journalists and posted on social media that she was hit by a speeding police van while walking on the side of the road.
They alleged that the officer driving the vehicle did not stop to assist Chibaya and her injured six-year-old sister. There were two officers in the marked South African Police Service car.
Residents picked up the vehicle number on the scene. An eyewitness detailed in a voice note posted on social media that a taxi she was in followed the speeding police vehicle to the police station.
“The officer fled. They did not stop … We found them at the back of the police station. They were still traumatised,” said the eyewitness in the voice note.
Lizzy Suping, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) spokesperson, confirmed to The Star yesterday that the officer was still not charged.
“The matter was registered as culpable homicide. The member has not been charged because the matter is still under investigation and it will be sent to the director of public prosecutions for a decision,” said Suping.
She reiterated an update communicated in a written Parliamentary reply co-signed by IPID executive director Jennifer Ntlatseng and Police Minister Bheki Cele.
Ntlatseng signed the reply on March 3, while Cele signed it on March 8. DA MP Tsholofelo Motshidi-Bodlani had asked for information pertaining to the fatal “hit-and-run” accident.
The reply identified the involved officer as a sergeant based at the Tsakane Police Station. It said a case of culpable homicide was opened and IPID had launched an investigation.
Ntlatseng and Cele’s reply added that the sergeant was yet to be charged because the case was still being investigated.
“(The) member involved has not yet been charged for culpable homicide. Ipid is investigating the case of death as a result of police action in terms of section 28 (1) of the IPID Act.
“The case is still under investigation and there is still information of evidential value that is still outstanding.”
The reply identified Chibaya as “allegedly a Zimbabwean national” and said her sister’s details were not known.
“The surviving victim is also not known to witnesses and to the members of the community.”