Pupil’s family accuse cops of poor service

The family of Hlokoma Zita, 18, who was knocked down by a speeding police van, are unhappy with the way in which Cape Town Central police station has handled the investigation so far. Ms Zita, a Sea Point matriculant, was run down on Friday June 2 (“Run down by police”, CapeTowner, June 8).

Both her legs were broken in the incident.

Siya Zita, the brother of the victim, told the CapeTowner on Monday June 12 that they were upset that the police had wanted to interview his sister while she was in ICU.

However, the nurses at Cape Town Medi-Clinic had refused them permission.

“The statements of the driver of the police van and those of the witnesses are yet to be taken. On Friday June 9, Detective Constable Otto Gulwa advised us that there was a unit that was supposed to be at the accident scene but was not there and the station commander was looking into that,” Mr Zita said.

“Police were unclear about the eyewitnesses and the four Sea Point High School pupils on the scene did not receive counselling. These pupils are writing exams at the moment and the accident adversely affected them.”

Ms Zita is currently recovering at the 2 Military Hospital in Wynberg.

Doctors said her left leg would have to be operated on sometime in the future.

She also has long-term damage to her ankle and dead muscle tissue in her leg as a result of an infection she contracted.

Mr Zita said while his sister was on the mend, she faced a long recovery period. “My father was in tears and couldn’t bear the sight of his daughter in pain. This is also having a profound impact on me.

“This whole thing makes me angry, especially the way the police are handling the case. There is a high chance that my sister will not play netball again. We need to make my voice, that of my family, and Sea Point High pupils as loud as possible.”

Asked for an update on their investigation, Cape Town Central police station spokesman Captain Ezra October told the CapeTowner: “The statement of the driver and his partner have been taken.

“I am not at liberty to disclose their names as they are yet to charged.”

Captain October said that following an accident of this nature the SAPS response unit based in Maitland would normally go to the scene, but they did not.

“They will be contacted by the investigating officer to visit the scene and also assess the damage to the police vehicle; determine the speed it was driving at and check its GPS tracking system.”

According to Captain October, the driver of the police van had been heading to a complaint on the Grand Parade when the accident occurred. “He said a bus obscured his view when he took the turn, which resulted in the accident.”

He confirmed that Detective Constable Gulwa had visited Ms Zita in hospital to determine the extent of her injuries from the nursing management – but not to take her statement.

Captain October said Detective Constable Gulwa would contact Sea Point High School to set up an interview with pupils who had been on the scene.

“They are currently writing exams and he needs their parents’ permission to speak to them. Counselling will be provided in conjunction with the school.”

Detective Constable Gulwa had also sent a request to the City of Cape Town to obtain CCTV footage of the accident, he said.