Karabo Chaka, 16, died after being shot in the head by a rubber bullet fired by a police officer.
He was murdered during protests by residents of Slovo Park, south of Johannesburg, who have been causing traffic delays on the N12 since Monday due to a shortage of water and sanitation facilities in the region.
The incident has been confirmed by Gauteng police, who have indicated it would be investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
Mavela Masondo, a police spokesperson, said the cause of death could not be determined at this time.
Nonetheless, the teenager’s relatives said that police could not deny their involvement because there were witnesses.
Mmasello Chaka, Chaka’s grandmother, said he had been watching movies when he took a brief break – against her advise.
“I told them not to come out because they had already started shooting. Then they shot him. We want justice for this child.”
Japhta Chaka, the teenager’s uncle, said the boy was shot in the back while fleeing officers who, he claims, fired their guns with the intent to kill.
“They shot him while he was between the shacks where we live, where he lives. He was leaving the house, and when he saw everyone running, he joined them. To show that whoever fired the shot intended to kill him, he shot right at the back of his head.”
Thabang Maseko, an eyewitness, believes Chaka, a grade 7 student at Eldorado Primary School, could have survived if police had not sprayed tear gas after the teen was struck on the head.
However, the teenager’s unemployed mother, who has five other children, has stated that she does not have the financial wherewithal to bury her son in their Free State homeland of Kroonstad.