Nathaniel Julies’ grieving mother, Bridget Harris, has described her son as a “wonderful child”, who loved dancing and laughter.
“I have no words to explain how I feel right now. I want to thank God above for everything. He was a wonderful boy that I have known for 16 years,” she said at his funeral at Mount Carmel Ministries in Eldorado Park on Saturday.
“Scorpion [murder-accused Sergeant Simon Ndyalvane] took him away from us, [but] we will always have his memory.”
Julies, who had Down syndrome, was shot dead near his home in Eldorado Park on 26 August.
Three officers have been charged in connection with the boy’s untimely death.
Ndyalvane, 46, and Caylene Whiteboy, 26, are facing charges of murder, defeating the ends of justice, discharging a firearm in a public space, and possession of prohibited ammunition.
Detective Sergeant Foster Netshiongolo, 37, faces charges of murder as an accessory after the fact, unlawful possession of ammunition and defeating the ends of justice.
Julies’ final send-off drew scores of people, with some waving placards depicting the teenager’s face; others wore t-shirts which portrayed a photo of Julies.
Meanwhile, businessman Gayton McKenzie lashed out Gauteng premier David Makhura, who earlier this week said Julies had died after being caught in a crossfire.
Makhura had said Julies was killed during a shootout with members of the police, following a tip-off about stolen car parts.
“The gangster label that is in Eldorado Park would have stuck to any child who would have been killed instead of Julies. The gangsterism term could not stick on Julies,” he said.
Makhura’s spokesperson, Vuyo Mhaga, has denied the premier said Julies was involved in gangsterism.
“The premier never said that. He has called for those who have killed the boy to be held accountable,” said Mhaga.
The South African Federation of Trade Unions’ Zwelinzima Vavi, who was denied access to the funeral venue, said it was “nonsense to say Julies was involved in gang fights”.
“How can a child at 16, with serious health challenges, playing with a biscuit, become a threat to the police?”