A three-year-old boy died in hospital yesterday afternoon, five days after he was shot by armed robbers who had just robbed a spaza shop in the south of Johannesburg.
Thato Mhaula was walking with his brother into the shop when a bullet struck him in the head. His father Sfiso Mtshali said Thato had just entered the shop in South Hills when he was shot.
His sons had gone there to buy paraffin as they had no electricity in the house.
“I gave them money to buy paraffin and R2 coins for them to buy snacks. A few minutes later someone came and told me that my child was injured at the shop. At first I thought he was hurt or hit by a car,” he said. Mtshali then rushed to the shop.
“I passed his mother on the road where she had collapsed.
“I couldn’t help her, I just ran to the shop. When I arrived I saw blood and his hat on the floor.
“The people who were there put him in a car. He was in the back seat with his head on a pillow and we rushed him to hospital. I carried him inside myself.”
Mtshali said he later realised portions of his son’s brain were left on his jacket.
“I realised then that my son could die. I got scared and I wanted to run away.”
Mtshali said Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital became his home as he spent hours praying for his son’s recovery.
“His condition was getting worse daily.”
Mtshali said doctors told him the bullet went through the brain and came out on the other side. The grief-stricken father said the hospital informed his family at about 1.30pm yesterday that Thato had passed away.
“I felt pain like I have never felt before. I felt like I was losing my mind. We had such a strong bond.”
He said he wanted justice for his son.
Police spokesman Captain Jeff Phora said they were investigating a case of murder and business robbery.
The suspects are still at large.