Gauteng teen in ICU after being hit by speeding police car
Johannesburg - The family of a Gauteng teenager are demanding justice after a Grade 12 learner was hit by a speeding police car and ended up in a coma in hospital.
Seventeen-year-old Thato Perseverance Aphane, a learner from Parklands High School in Alberton, is fighting for his life at Netcare Union Hospital with head injuries after he was hit by a vehicle driven allegedly by officer Miracle Lebogang Mogola on Monday near his home.
“He is still in the intensive care unit and they said they would try to wake him up from the coma… but as of Wednesday, they were still trying to monitor the swelling in his brain and reduce the swelling,” the boy’s mother Maishibe said on Thursday.
Gauteng provincial police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo confirmed that a case of reckless and negligent driving was opened for investigation.
“The provincial office will engage the investigating officer about the allegations of the police turning the family away when they wanted to open the case,” he said.
The mother said on Monday she was called by the school’s principal to inform her that her son had been hit by a white Ford driven by a police officer at the Caltex Fresh Stop in Florentia, near where the family stay. The panicked mother rushed to the scene and arrived only to be told that the ambulance was already on the way to the hospital.
“We got CCTV footage from the garage … He didn’t stop at the stop sign, he came at a high speed and knocked him. My son flew up and went down to the pavement,” she said.
The mother said on Monday the officer Mogola allegedly contacted Thato’s father, Matabi Aphane, and asked to meet the parents. But they were not ready to talk.
The family returned to the hospital the next morning to check on Thato’s condition but before their appointment, the officer called again insisting on meeting with the family. However, Aphane said they would only talk once they knew about his son’s condition.
“When we went out of the ward, there were two gentlemen standing there and Thato’s uncle realised that one of them was the man who knocked Thato but the question was how did he get to the ward where my son was? How did he even get access to the hospital?,” the mother asked.
She said the family also bumped into the officer in the hospital parking lot.
“We started to get scared that our son wasn’t safe because if this guy can get close to him and use his powers as a police officer to access information from the hospital, then there is a problem because he was abusing his power as a cop.
“He even confirmed that he was there on Monday night without our permission,” the mother said.
The family subsequently went to the Alberton police station to open a case against Mogola because the family believed that the officer was interfering with the case and intimidating them.
“We said we want to open a case against this guy who knocked a child down who is also intimidating us and using his power as a cop to gain information about our son. They refused,” she said.
The mother said the family was informed that they could not open a case against Mogola because the State had already opened a reckless and negligent driving case.