NEWS

IPID To Probe Standerton Teen's Death

Reports suggest the 16-year-old was shot in the head during a protest by community members.

19/05/2017 16:46 SAST | Updated 19/05/2017 16:47 SAST
STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images
Sakhile is not new to protests. Police patrol a street in the township following a service delivery protest in 2009.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) will be investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 16-year-old boy shot during a protest in Standerton's Sakhile Township in Mpumalanga.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said the teenager was shot when police were attempting to halt violence during a protest in the town.

Hlathi told HuffPost SA that the community was supposed to march to the local police station to handover a memorandum with concerns over a corruption case opened two weeks ago against a senior official of the Lekwa Municipality.

"The people instead went on a rampage throwing stones, barricading roads and burning tyres," said Hlathi.

He said the teen was declared dead upon arrival at the hospital.

Hlathi could not confirm reports that the boy was shot in the head.

HuffPost SA has since learnt that more people sustained injuries in the chaos, which erupted earlier on Friday.

A resident who did not want to be named, told HuffPost SA that police used live ammunition to disperse protesters.

"Although it was chaotic, I don't remember any teargas being used or rubber bullets. They just fired live bullets at the group of people who were apparently trying to burn a municipal building. I can't say whether or not the people were guilty of anything, but parts of the building were set alight. The fire department managed to put out the fire. It's tragic now that people have been injured and one killed," said the resident.

Hlathi said investigations are underway to determine how the teen was killed.

"Any more details will be communicated as soon as we know what happened and IPID has taken over the investigations," he told HuffPost SA.

He said the case against the municipal official is also under police investigation.

An employee at the municipality confirmed that despite ongoing police investigations, the official in question remains in his position and did report for duty on Friday morning.