‘Police shot me in front of my school’

Lerato Ramakoba shows where the doctors have left holes in his broken arm's cast for his bullet wounds to heal.

According to 18-year-old Lerato Ramakoba, he was part of a large group of learners who were protesting in front of his school because they had not had teachers for two months when the incident took place on 16 May.
‘We were only singing and had not caused any damage to property. I was standing with my back to the police officers as I was looking at the teachers inside the school grounds when I suddenly heard a loud noise. The side of my body immediately felt warm,’ Lerato told the Herald this week.
Upon looking down, Lerato saw that he had been shot and was covered with blood. Luckily, some teachers also saw what had happened, pulled him into the school grounds and called an ambulance. He was immediately evacuated to Carletonville Hospital and, from there, to Leratong Hospital. Doctors determined that the bullet that had hit Lerato had entered the lower left side of his trunk from behind and had exited in front before shooting right through his left arm.
Although he received swift medical treatment, his ordeal was still far from over. Even though he had to stay in the hospital until 23 May, the doctors decided that his arm was still too swollen to operate on the fracture. The put the arm in a cast and left the wounds where the bullet entered and exited open.
By last Friday, he was still not sure when he would actually be operated on.
‘I am still in so much pain that I struggle to study for my exams. I have to drink painkillers every few hours and they make me drowsy. I had planned to finish matric this year but with the way things are going now, I might not pass these exams,’ he told the Herald. He added that he has recurring nightmares of being shot by house robbers since the incident.
Lerato is still not sure why he was shot at or why live ammunition was used instead of the rubber bullets that were used on his fellow protesters.
At the time of the shooting, members of various policing units were at the scene.
‘I am really disappointed in the police and the education department,’ said Lerato’s mother, Mrs Albertina Ramakoba.
Although the investigators from IPID have visited the family, no one from the Fochville police or the education department has bothered to come and see how Lerato is doing.
‘The principal promised that the school would pay our medical bills but so far nothing has happened. I have had to take an advance on my salary to travel to the hospitals. My son is now reliant on government hospitals for his care as I do not have the money to get him to a private doctor without the extra help,’ she lamented.
Ironically, the Department of Education did spring to action to sort out the problems at the school shortly after Lerato was shot. The Herald could get no further comment out of them about the incident.
Yesterday the DA said in a statement that Gauteng community safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane admitted that the police had fired live ammunition at the learners, although they were not authorised to do so.

The wounds where the bullet entered and exited Lerato’s body.

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