“We refuse to leave Thuto’s death unchallenged and will not rest until the perpetrator is brought to book.”
COMMUNITY members aim to reignite the ‘Justice for Thuto’ campaign as they believe that the Galeshewe teenager’s death is being “downplayed” by law enforcement authorities.
Grade 9 pupil Thuto Moitse, 15, died after she became involved in a fight with a 15-year-old boy, who allegedly choked her, on November 7 last year, while the boy’s father apparently stepped in and also allegedly choked her.
Eyewitnesses indicated that Thuto was pushed to the ground during the scuffle and was also punched in the stomach.
The following day, Thuto complained of chest and stomach pains and was vomiting.
She was admitted for medical treatment to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital and died on November 9.
Outraged community members are still aggrieved that no one has been arrested in connection with her death and that there has apparently been no progress in the police investigation.
A group of community members, close friends and family members gathered at the Galeshewe circle on Wednesday, demanding answers.
“We remained calm when they asked us not to take the law into our own hands and we waited patiently for the post-mortem results when they asked us to allow justice to prevail. We have given the police two months and yet we are still being kept in the dark about what really happened,” they said.
“We refuse to leave Thuto’s death unchallenged and will not rest until the perpetrator is brought to book.
“It appears as if her death is being swept under the carpet.
“We cannot sleep at night because Thuto haunts us in our dreams every night, where she is crying for justice. Thuto’s mother is still extremely traumatised and so are her friends.”
Kelebogile Moitse is still unable to come to terms with her daughter’s death.
“I cannot accept the post-mortem report that indicated that Thuto died of organ failure. Her death makes no sense. Two months after her death there is still no progress on the criminal investigation,” said Kelebogile.
She claimed that a suspect, along with a lawyer and a police officer, had approached her to request that she withdraw the charges.
A close friend added that the police had allegedly threatened to charge her for defamation of character if she continued calling for an arrest.
“They said that I could be arrested and jailed if another community march was held to demand justice for her death.
“A community march will be held next week where a memorandum will be handed over to the police, because it appears as if this case is being treated very lightly. We want to know why the suspect is receiving preferential treatment. The suspect told me that he was an important businessman and instructed me not to take the matter any further.”
Community members have also questioned what exactly the “irritant or unknown substance” was that was identified in the autopsy results. “The police need to investigate what this substance is and how it got into her system.”
Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Dimakasto Mooi said the police were still investigating an inquest docket.
“The post-mortem results indicated that the deceased died after ingesting an irritant substance. The assault case opened by the parents is also being investigated,” said Mooi.