‘He can’t eat‚ he's struggling’‚ says mother of child shot in the mouth

14 September 2017 - 17:20 By Anthony Molyneaux
Pinkie and Ona Dubula in hospital.
Pinkie and Ona Dubula in hospital.
Image: Kimon de Greef

Pinky Dubula sounds exhausted as she tries to explain her son's condition.

"He can't eat. He is struggling‚'' said Dubula on Wednesday.

"It is going to be difficult now that he has a hole in his mouth."

Her 14-year-old child‚ Ona‚ was shot in the mouth with rubber bullets by police during protests in Hangberg on Tuesday. Doctors at Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital operated to remove the bullet from his mouth on Wednesday.

Images and a video of officers opening fire at the child‚ who hid behind a table‚ have gone viral.

WATCH | [WARNING: Graphic content] The moment police shot a 14-year-old boy at close range

When TimesLIVE spoke to Dubula on Wednesday she said she had not eaten and stayed at her son's side since he was transported to the hospital on Tuesday.

Dubula explained that her son had gone to the area to see what people were protesting about. Unfortunately‚ she said‚ he found himself in a very dangerous situation.

"This is causing me a lot of pain and there are a lot of unexplained questions racing through my head‚'' she said.

Residents from Hangberg took to the streets to protest about fishing quotas and service delivery problems among other things.

On Thursday an excavator was set alight by residents who used it to block off one of the entrances into Hangberg. By late afternoon there were approximately 100 people intimidating police. About 300 residents watched as officers fired teargas at protesters. Instead of dispersing‚ the protesters picked up the canisters and hurled them back at the police.

A group of 30 police officers manned the streets and two Nyalas patrolled the area.

Five community representatives had a meeting at the police station. Some said they had been assured that government officials would address them about the fishing quota issue.

When Ben James Joseph Rastafari‚ one of the leaders‚ was asked if he had control over the protesters he said: "I haven't got control over this. If I go and speak there the people can even moer me (beat me)."