Buffalo City Metro’s head of law enforcement has slammed the East London SAPS Flying Squad after a high-speed chase in which his 16-year-old son was shot at several times.
Dr Ntobeko Stemele’s son, who is in Grade 9 at a local school, was racing away from the law in his father’s car, which he took without permission.
The fracas caused a storm on social media after Stemele and the cops left a trail of destruction on Monday evening.
Michelle Clayton and her husband Kenny’s kitchen window in Kay Street, Amalinda, was shattered by a 9mm bullet.
Clayton told the Daily Dispatch that she’d had a close shave with death after the bullet narrowly missed her.
Stemele, who is acting head of BCM’s department of public safety and health, yesterday said the police put the lives of his son and others at risk by firing at them.
“What if the police had killed my son and those underage boys? I am not condoning what my son did – he took my car – but to shoot at them like that was just reckless.”
Stemele, who was the former commander of BCM law enforcement, said: “I inspected the car and saw the bullet holes in the back of the car and on the left rear, which showed me that they were trying to shoot the tyres.
“The people who were shooting there did not do a clean job.”
Stemele said his son was washing the car outside while he was in bed on Sunday morning.
“When I woke up I saw only the mats of the car. My son and the car were not there. The entire Sunday I could not locate him.”
Stemele said his son also stole his bank card.
“A bank notification came in in the early hours of Monday morning after my son made a withdrawal of R300. I thought ‘all right that is fine’, because my thoughts were that he would fill the car and come back home.”
Stemele said he didn’t want to cause his son to panic by involving the police so he asked family members to help him track the car.
“I left for work at 8am and my son was still not back. I went back home on Monday afternoon and still he hadn’t returned my car.
“I am not sure who alerted the police because that is how things got out of control.
“I had people reporting to me every time, so I was monitoring him so I could get my car without causing unnecessary drama.”
Nosipho Luphoyi, whose orphaned nephew was in the car with the boy, said she called the police.
“I was worried because that boy’s mother died and I am the only one he’s got. They were all underage teenagers without driver’s licences.”
The car, with the East London Flying Squad Unit in pursuit, was found near ProVeg in Haven Hills.
The chase began on the North East Expressway when police took off in hot pursuit of a driver they suspected was intoxicated.
Witnesses said that at one stage the panic-stricken boy, driving the red Volkswagen Golf GTi, was driving on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic, putting other motorists at risk.
The car, riddled with bullets, was impounded by police.
The driver is alleged to have been driving under the influence of alcohol with a group of three friends, according to Dorothy Street resident Alinasiphelo Mabongo, 27.
“[They] drove into Sunnyside Street where the teen stays.
“He didn’t stop at his home but drove past it. That is when the police started shooting [at] the tyres,” she said.
Mabongo said the drama happened while children were playing on the side of the road and pedestrians were returning from work.
Mdantsane police spokesman Captain Nkosikho Mzuku confirmed the incident, but referred queries to his East London counterpart Warrant Officer Hazel Mqala.
No response had been received from Mqala at the time of writing. — firstname.lastname@example.org