‘Wrong place and time’

SOYISO MALITI

Parents of one the two teenagers who burnt to death in an alleged gang-related incident in Petersen Street, Wallacedene, believe the two were at the wrong place, at the wrong time and with an unsuitable crowd.

Neighbouring residents say Adalaine Bruiners, 15, of Scottsdene, and Sonwabile Sahluko, 15, of Section 14 in Wallacedene, were caught in the middle of a gang retaliation attack on Sunday May 15.

They had been with a group of boys in a shack when they came under attack.

A gang threw empty bottles and rocks at them before hurling a lit brazier and five litres of petrol at the shack.

Adalaine’s parents, Elaine and Adam Bruiners, said she had been at the “wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong people”.

Ms Bruiners said three girls were with a group of boys in the shack.

She said police told her Adalaine, a Grade 9 Scottsdene High School pupil, may have been hit with a brick on the head and passed out during the commotion.

On Wednesday, family and friends had gathered to comfort the couple. A visibly distraught Mr Bruiners said he had no words to describe how he felt. “It’s very hard to believe,” he said. The parents said they had been warned by the police to limit their comments to the media because the case was “very sensitive”.

Ms Bruiners described her daughter as “loving, charming and always joking around”.

Residents, who refused to be named for fear of reprisals, said alleged members of the VDK gang had managed to escape the attack unscathed, but Adalaine had been knocked out and failed to get away.

It was not known why Sonwabile did not make it out of the shack.

Derrick Letlaila, Wallacedene CPF sub-forum chairman, who lives close to where the incident took place, said 15 alleged gang members had been arrested for the incident.

He confirmed the incident had been a retaliation attack by another gang. A member of that gang had been badly stabbed, said Mr Letlaila.

Sub-council 21 councillors, in opening the last sub-council meeting, observed a moment of silence for the two teenagers. Speaker and Ward 7 councillor, Grant Twigg, said: “It’s a community thing we need to work on. We need to be creative in how we tackle these issues (of crime) and find ways to assist police.” Mr Twigg had visited the family after the incident. The Bruiners’ said the visit meant a lot to the family.

Captain Frederick van Wyk, provincial police spokesman, confirmed a police gang unit is investigating the case. He said there several people who are being questioned, adding that the investigation is at a “very sensitive stage” so he could not comment any further on the matter.

Captain Van Wyk urged anyone with any information about the incident to contact the investigation officer, Warrant Officer Dirkie van Renen on 021 980 5558.