The father of 12-year-old Altaf Ally, who was shot by attempted hijackers, says the family are trying to remain positive after hearing that their son has brain damage.
'He is the apple of my eye, he's like my best friend. I would have preferred if the bullet had hit me'
Altaf underwent surgery on Tuesday at a Durban hospital to remove a blood clot in his brain.
"He is still in a critical condition. The swelling has gone down slightly. We were told that there is some damage and that he just needs some time to heal," said his father, Indris, a panel-beater.
"We were told that most probably by the weekend he should be out of sedation. But we trust that he is in good hands. The surgeon that operated on him is one of the best," said Ally.
Altaf, a Grade 8 pupil at Crossmoor Secondary school in Chatsworth, was shot in the head after a botched hijacking.
The boy and his father were in the back yard of their Moorton home when a neighbour, an off-duty policeman, was held up by four men.
The men allegedly demanded the man's car keys, but when they realised he had given them the wrong keys, they ran away wildly firing shots.
When Altaf and Ally went to investigate the commotion, Altaf was shot in the head.
The policeman was not injured.
Three suspects - Malusi Zulu, 23, Samkele Mkhize, 19, and Thabiso Hadebe, 18 - were arrested and charged with attempted murder, possession of a firearm and armed robbery.
They were remanded in custody until their next appearance in the Chatsworth Magistrate's Court tomorrow.
Police are searching for a fourth suspect.
Altaf's mother, Fazila, said the family was finding it hard to cope, but she was happy about the arrests.
"Justice has to be done," she said.
Ally said he was angry over the incident.
"What's making the community see red is that Altaf is a humble child and he was in his own yard. It's not like he was poking his nose in other people's business.
"He is the apple of my eye, he's like my best friend. I would have preferred if the bullet had hit me."
Altaf's neurosurgeon, Dr ST Govender, was not available for comment.