By Nhlanhla Mbatha
Johannesburg - A Soweto father does not understand why a police officer, who knocked down his three-year-old daughter while driving allegedly drunk, got his brother arrested while he walked free.
Linda Njoko, 40, of Jabulani, Soweto, told The Star on Sunday that his daughter, Sibahle, was playing on the street pavement with her friends on Saturday, February 13.
Njoko said Sibahle, who died on the scene and was buried the following weekend, would have turned four two days later, on February 15.
“My daughter Sibahle died at the hands of a drunk law enforcement officer.
“The officer was with a male companion in a car, and a female friend, known in the neighbourhood,” a sobbing Njoko said.
He said the police vehicle had just pulled away from a tavern in the same street when it hit Sibahle a short distance away.
“My wife and neighbours rushed to the scene when they heard a loud bang and screams. When they got there they found my daughter lying in a pool of blood,” he said.
Njoko, who had just returned from the nearby shops, said when he saw a crowd he rushed to the scene, only to be met by his daughter’s tiny body lying in a pool of blood on the tar.
“When I enquired who had done this, I was shown the car parked nearby. We then saw the woman that we know getting out of the car with a bag full of alcohol bottles.
“In that commotion the woman disappeared in the crowd, and the police car also drove off,” Njoko said.
“While we were still trying to find out how the police officers managed to drive away from the accident scene, we learnt that they, the officers, were stopped two streets away by the community and beaten.
“They were brought back to the scene and the crowd continued to beat the two officers. When the other police officers from Jabulani police station arrived at the scene, they never bothered to inquire what had happened.
“They never took statements, never interviewed anybody, never even took details of the accident scene,” Njoko said, adding that the officers from Jabulani police station only removed what looked like files and dockets from the vehicle with the injured officers before driving off with them.
Njoko said the night after the funeral police officers, accompanied by the woman who was with the officers during the accident, came to his home and took his brother and another man from the same street.
“The woman, who lives in the neighbourhood and is known to be dating the officer who was driving the vehicle that killed my daughter, is the one who got my brother arrested.
“My brother is now facing a charge of attempted murder and robbery.
“The officers were beaten by a crowd from two streets away from the accident scene.
“My brother was with me throughout while we were trying to get my daughter to hospital,” Njoko said.
Njoko’s brother was to appear at the Protea North Magistrate’s Court t, and, according to Njoko, the woman who identified his brother to the police and a potential witness to the case is in hospital after allegedly attempting to commit suicide.
Meanwhile, the family have not opened a case against the officer, saying they feared it might affect the chances of their brother getting bail.
Police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele has advised the family to open a case against the officer.