Teenager dies after falling out of high-speed bakkie during protest

Tladi Moloi

A violent protest has claimed the life of a 15-year-old teenager in Beruit township, Qwaqwa, in the Free State.

Mbuyiswa Buthelezi allegedly fell off the back of a moving bakkie on Sunday, which was apparently transporting tyres to protesters. He landed under its wheels.

According to an eyewitness who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons, the car Buthelezi was travelling in was driving at high speed when he fell from it.

Angry community members who claimed that they have been without electricity for about three weeks barricaded the road with rocks and burning tyres at the entrance of the Maluti Crescent Mall.

Another community member who refused to be named said they were fed up so they went on to close the roads.

“We know that this is the only language that our leaders understand. We spend almost 19 hours per day without electricity. We buy electricity but don’t have it when we have to use it. That’s crazy. The cost of living is too high, as we all know the food is too expensive. But we now have to throw out everything in the fridge because they are rotten,” he said.

Brigadier Diau Ramolla, a station commander at the Phuthaditjhaba police station, said one person was arrested over the boy’s death.

“We have arrested the owner of the bakkie, a foreign businessman from around the area. A public violence case has been registered and the suspect will appear before the Phuthaditjhaba magistrate soon,” he said.

Paratlane Motloung, the speaker of the Maluti-a-Phofung local municipality, said they were saddened by the young boy’s passing.

“We are very sad and disappointed to lose such a young boy. We know that the municipality has had the electricity challenge for a long time and we are still working on it. We recently had a meeting with Eskom in efforts to come up with a permanent solution,” he said.


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