Police accused of shooting teenager during Slovo Park protest

SAPS investigating death of 16-year-old Karabo Chaka

By Chris Gilili

1 August 2023

Karabo Chaka, 16, was killed during a protest in Slovo Park, south of Johannesburg, on Monday. Photo: supplied

Police are investigating the death of a teenager during a protest in Slovo Park, south of Johannesburg, on Monday. Police had used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the protest.

According to his uncle, 16-year-old Karabo Chaka was shot by police while he was in the yard of the family home. Karabo’s uncle, Jafta “Small” Chaka, told GroundUp that Karabo had gone into the yard of their home in the informal settlement with other children to see what was happening. Police had left the road and entered the yard. Chaka said his nephew had been shot in the back of the head. Karabo was rushed to Eldorado Park clinic but died on the way.

“The bullet caught the child inside our yard. He just went out with other children to observe what was going on,” said Chaka. “This didn’t happen on the street.”

Chaka said he reported the case at Eldorado police station.

“We don’t know how we will bury our boy. We’re from Kroonstad in the Free State. His father passed away and his mother is unemployed.”

He said the community had offered to help the family fund lawyers to take up the case.

Gauteng police spokesperson Mavela Masondo confirmed that police had opened an inquest docket which will be transferred to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) for investigation.

For hours on Monday, Slovo Park residents had blocked the busy N12 highway, demanding immediate action to develop the informal settlement. Protesters, including young and elderly people, burned tyres and blocked the road for more than six hours with stones and rubble. Police dispersed the protest with teargas and rubber bullets.

Some protesters said they had lived in the settlement for 30 years and promises to upgrade it had not been kept.

Residents use water to quench teargas used by police to quell the protest in Slovo Park on Monday. Photo: Chris Gilili