Al­ber­ton school­boy in high care af­ter po­lice car hit him

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - CHULUMANCO MAHAMBA chulumanco.mahamba@inl.co.za

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 yes­ter­day.

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.

Thato Aphane

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