Family of boy hit by car want apology

Shamiel de Kock, 4, died after being hit by a car in Bonteheuwel.

The family of Shamiel de Kock, the 4-year-old boy who died after being hit by a car in Bonteheuwel, say they want the motorist, who was allegedly speeding at the time, to apologise.

Shamiel was knocked down in Bonteheuwel Avenue, a few houses down from his home, on Saturday March 6, at about 8pm.

The impact threw the child 10 to 20 metres, and he landed almost in front of his house, according to Shamiel’s cousin, Shuaib Vermeulen, who witnessed the incident. Shamiel died at the scene.

The boy’s mother, Portia de Kock, said Shamiel had been playing outside while she had gone inside to run him a bath. She had heard a noise, and a neighbour had run inside to tell her Shamiel had been hit by a car.

Ms De Kock said neighbours had told her that Shamiel had run into the road. A bakkie had swerved to avoid him, but a car behind the bakkie had been speeding and had not braked in time. The neighbours declined to comment to the Athlone News.

The driver was known to speed and residents had reprimanded him about it, Ms De Dock claimed.

Shamiel’s mother, Portia De Kock, and cousin Shuaib Vermeulen.

Mr Vermeulen said Shamiel had been playing outside as he usually did, but something had made the child run into the road. One of the neighbours had tried to warn him not to but it had been too late.

“The driver and his father were in the car and the father tried to swap seats with him, but the police stopped them as there was a van in the area,” he said.

“He says that he did brake, but we were there; he did not brake. All we want is an apology. We do not hate him – it was an accident, but at least come and say maaf. We are never going to see him again. This house is so quiet now.”

Mr Vermeulen described Shamiel as a friendly, loving, talkative child who always wanted to be a “groot man.” He had been loved by many of the neighbours whose houses he had frequented during the day.

“He just wanted to be a big man and always spoke of what he would do when he is a big man. He would call me a million times at night to play because he didn’t want to sleep. He spoke to anyone and was very inquisitive,” he said.

Ms De Kock said Shamiel’s bubbly personality and zest for life were sorely missed around the house.

“My other children miss him. They are six children all together. I miss him. His brother was crying last night because he was close to him. At night, when they must go sleep, Shamiel would always say, ‘Kom ons klei.’ He always wanted to play fight with his brother,” she said.

Bishop Lavis police spokesman Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi said police were investigating a culpable homicide case.

“The driver was present at the scene when the police arrived,” he said. “The driver, however, was escorted to Bishop Lavis police station when the crowd that gathered at the scene became somewhat unruly.”

Bonteheuwel ward councillor Angus McKenzie said some in the community had questioned why a young child had been outside at that time of the night without supervision.

He added: “Drivers must be cautious and alert especially in residential areas. There is a high level of frustration in the community because they say he is a fast driver. It is important for drivers to reduce speed in residential areas.”