Fake news adding to family trauma
SADIA Sukhraj’s violent death rocked the community of Chatsworth and sparked an uprising against crime and alleged police inaction.
But the devastated family of the 9-year-old Shallcross girl not only have to deal with burying their beloved daughter and visits by several politicians, but rumours and gossip on social media.
Fearing they might be harmed as a result of this, private security have stood guard outside their home since Thursday.
The family, said their spokesperson, Pastor Cyril Pillay, have been left even more traumatised as fake messages did their rounds claiming that Sadia’s father, Pastor Shailendra Sukraj, might have fired the fatal bullet as he and others chased after the robbers who had hijacked his car, with little Sadia in it.
The fake messages claimed he would be handing himself over to the police.
Pillay said this was a hoax and the family were still waiting for ballistic results, which police confirmed were still outstanding because of a backlog.
“No normal human being would intentionally harm their own child,” he said.
“The family is traumatised by these rumours being spread around and we are trying to find some sort of psychological help for them.
“Whatever the reports reveal we will stand by them but now without any results, people should not be callous and spread fake news.”
Pillay added the family had been overwhelmed with support from the community members calling for justice for their daughter’s death.
On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, various politicians, including Community Safety MEC Mxolisi Kaunda, Human Settlements MEC Ravi Pillay, Police Minister Bheki Cele, MF leader Shameen Thakur Rajbansi and eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede and her deputy, Fawzia Peer, visited the grieving family.
Cele told them that the police knew all three suspects.
“The man who is arrested at the moment was out on parole for murder; he and the two accomplices have a number of cases against them for carjacking,” he said.
When Thakur Rajbansi visited, Shailendra told her that the community needed to work with police to effectively fight crime.
“It takes two hands to clap and to make a sound – and an effective sound – so we need to imagine if we work together and put both hands (together) and create a sound that will impact our nation. If we come together in unity, I believe it will be done.”
With 69 murders, 103 attempted murders, 472 thefts out of vehicles and 128 car hijackings in 2017, according to Crime Stats SA, Chatsworth remains a high crime zone, with the community rattled by recent incidents, including the death of 9-year-old Sadia Sukhraj in a hijacking on her way to school. POST reporters CHANELLE LUTCHMAN and NADIA KHAN canvassed the views of residents, while others write of their pain.