Family grateful for support after son’s death

Austin McKay, 18, from Hanover Park, was stabbed to death on Wednesday May 15.

The McKay family say they are overwhelmed by the support shown by the community since their son was stabbed to death on Wednesday May 15.

Austin McKay, 18, a Grade 10 pupil at Crystal High School in Hanover Park, was stabbed in the chest and died on his way to the hospital.

According to Philippi SAPS spokesperson, Captain Lance Goliath, Austin was involved in a fight when he was stabbed. He was apparently sent home from school when the incident happened.

“We are trying to get witnesses to assist us with the case. The perpetrator has not been arrested yet,” Captain Goliath said.

On Thursday May 16, members of the Hanover Park Safety Forum visited the family home in Suria Crescent, Hanover Park, to express their condolences. They were among hundreds of people who came to show their respect, since the news of his death travelled throughout the community.

Austin’s father, Ruben McKay, said his son had an affable personality.

“Everybody in the community liked him. He liked to help people out. He used to scrub mats, and ran to the shop for the neighbours. Our neighbours loved him so much, that they even, at times, took him with them if they went to the beach, for example. I never expected my son to lose his life in this way. He was not a gangster. I am in pain. Losing my son has left a deep wound in my heart that I don’t think will ever be healed,” Mr McKay said.

His mother, Rachel McKay, overcome with emotion, said: “He had big dreams. He wanted to study after school. Even though he was a few grades behind, he was determined to complete his schooling. He promised me he would take care of me once he completed his studies. They robbed my son of his life in the blink of an eye. He was a very good child. I thank God for him. I couldn’t have asked for a better son,” Ms McKay said.

His aunt Agnes McKay, agreed that her nephew was determined to complete his schooling.

“There were times when there was no money for electricity and he would sit and study in candlelight. He had a willing heart. He also joined a church and he was doing so well there. We don’t know why he was sent home on Wednesday – we thought he was safe behind a locked school gate,” Agnes said.

Neighbour Belinda Moodie said Austin was part of her family.

“One can almost say he grew up in my house. He was very helpful. Never rude,” Ms Moodie said.

Her daughter, Nadeema Moo-die agreed, saying he even helped her care for her bed-ridden grandfather.

“I can’t believe he is gone. I’m going to miss his smile,” she said.

There were talks about Austin being involved with stone-throwing incidents, where rival groups of boys pelt each other with bricks, but this could not be confirmed by Philippi SAPS.

Community worker Kashiefa Mohammed believes the school and the police failed the community.

“We informed the station commander and the sector commander about the stone throwing, but they never came out. We are heartbroken and disappointed. We want answers. We need answers from the school as well. This child was not a violent child,” she said.

Captain Goliath said police cannot act if incidents are not being reported.

“We ask that parents come forward and lay charges. We cannot act if it is not on record, and what we find is that the community is reluctant to give statements,” Captain Goliath said.

Western Cape Education Department spokesperson, Bronagh Hammond, said: “Our heartfelt condolences go to the pupil’s family, friends and school community. We are devastated by the loss of such a young life. Counselling will be made available for pupils at the school as required.”