The Mercury: Community ‘wants justice’ after baby dies during protest

Kwa-Zulu Natal | 2 June 2017, 9:08pm
Zimasa Matiwane, The Mercury
Durban – An independent pathologist will carry out a post-mortem on 2-week-old baby Jayden Khoza, who died after police fired tear gas during a protest at Foreman Road informal settlement on Monday.


The community had been holding a protest about service delivery challenges in the settlement when police allegedly fired tear gas near shacks.

According to baby Jayden’s parents, the infant had been sleeping in his parents’ shack when tear gas entered it and thereafter the child stopped breathing. 

Speaking at the memorial held for the baby on Thursday, president of Abahlali baseMjondolo – shack dwellers movement – Sibusiso Zikode said Jayden had been robbed of his life and promised mourners that the organisation was working with its legal team to ensure that justice was served.

“The postmortem will be conducted by an independent doctor. The results will be sent to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).”

“We want to avoid interference because we don’t trust state doctors and police,” he explained.

He praised the community for organising a “dignified memorial”.

“What you have done for this child is proof that although we are not taken seriously because (we) are poor, we respect our children,” said Zikode.

“Our strength as oppressed people can only come from our unity. Our lives and our future depend on the support you showed this family.”

Community leader and chairperson of Abahlali, Nqapheli Bonono, said the community had been holding a “peaceful protest” but police had started shooting.

“People started running toward their homes, police were chasing them. That’s how police came to be near the shacks. They did not stop shooting or discharging tear gas,” he explained.

Bonono said the community was traumatised.

“There are people who are still hurt and in pain after being shot with rubber bullets. The community is in pain, we need answers and want justice,” Bonono said.

He said the community had decided to halt the protest to mourn Jayden’s death as the child “died in our struggle”.

But he vowed that the community would continue protesting for land, housing and dignity.

Jayden’s father, Receive Khoza, 29, said he was distraught. “I have not been able to sleep or eat since my son died. It’s too painful. I hope the post-mortem will give us answers,” he said.

Khoza, who is originally from Mpumalanga, said his family would travel to Durban for the funeral on Saturday.