A KwaZulu-Natal mother says her teenage son with special needs has been left traumatised after he was allegedly kidnapped, beaten, and forced to drink petrol by a metro police officer who accused him of stealing.
“He is frightened and has nightmares. He can’t sleep alone and complains that he can still feel the petrol in his stomach and ear,” said the single mom who cannot be named to protect the child’s identity.
According to her, he and a friend were picked up by the officer on Monday and accused of stealing items from his home in the same neighbourhood. The other boy, 16, managed to escape while her son, 13, was allegedly taken by the man.
The 48-year-old woman from Savanna Park in Durban was in a taxi on Monday when she received a frantic phone call.
She said: “My daughter called me saying this man had taken my son and he was being beaten to death. I immediately got out of the taxi and went to the police station to ask for help.”
After a three-hour wait for a vehicle and pleading with the police, a car was dispatched and the boy was found in KwaSanti, where the stolen items had allegedly been sold.
“When we eventually found him, he had been beaten with a broomstick and his right eye had blood in it. He was afraid and told me he was forced to drink petrol,” she added.
The boy was rushed to RK Khan Hospital in Chatsworth from where he was later discharged.
“He is a special needs child who is on medication and this whole incident has made his development worse. He has been struggling to eat and only drinks liquids,” she said.
The mother of five added the ordeal had brought back memories of the death of her husband in August and affected her journey to practice her ancestral calling.
“I am deeply hurt. I can’t even focus on my ancestral calling because everything seems upside down,” she said.
At the time of the incident, the woman alleged the police did not open a case and told her to resolve the issue with her neighbour.
This until the case was brought to the attention of Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza who released a scathing statement.
“We will not tolerate any form of behaviour that threatens the safety and wellbeing of children. It also worsens the situation that nothing was found from these vulnerable children.
“We are really taken aback by these allegations involving police officers who are supposed to be custodians of the law,” said Khoza.
The boy will be attending his first counselling session on Thursday.
Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal police said the case was being investigated.
“Charges of attempted murder and kidnapping are being investigated by Mariannhill SAPS. It is alleged that on 12 April 2021 at 10:00, a 13-year-old boy was assaulted by a suspect and was forced to drink petrol after being suspected of burglary,” said police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala.
The metro police have also launched an internal investigation.