LOOKING AT LIFE INSIDE

2008-11-21 00:00

Mafikeng — Johann Nel (19) felt he was carrying out a revolution against blacks when he killed four people and wounded another eight during a rampage through Skielik informal settlement in the North West in January.

Now he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Judge Ronald Hendricks imposed a life term on Nel for each of the murders of Enoch Matshelanoka (10), Sivuyile Peyi (37), Elizabeth Moiphitli (two months) and Elizabeth’s mother Annah.

Nel was sentenced to an additional 68 years for 11 attempted murders — seven years on each of eight of the charges, in which his victims were wounded — and four years in three instances where he shot at people but did not hit them.

He also received five years for possession of a firearm and three years for possession of ammunition. A charge of damage to property was withdrawn.

The court ordered that Nel not be considered for parole.

Hendricks said racial attacks, whether white on black or black on white, should be condemned.

He said South African residents should learn to live together in peace and harmony.

“The milieu in which our children grow up must be free of racial hatred,” Hendricks said. “This is largely where your environment and your education failed you,” he told Nel.

Hendricks said that, especially after a farm attack on his brother Heinrich (23) in May 2001, Nel experienced intense anxiety, which crystallised into hatred.

“This hatred was particularly racial hatred towards black men,” said Hendricks.

He said a series of incidents over a long period led to the tragic events of January 14.

Nel was exposed to racially motivated hatred, in which he engrossed himself.

This racial hatred eventually led to the death of four innocent people and the injury of eight others.

Hendricks said that on that day in the Skielik squatter camp outside Swartruggens, Nel shot at innocent and unsuspecting people.

“The incident was racially motivated. You shot the deceased and the plaintiffs just because they were black.

“That is also why you shouted, ‘Come out, you k****rs … you black bastards, I’m going to kill all of you.’

“You were busy carrying out a revolution against black people, just as you also said.

“You were out on a racist murder mission aimed at black people. It was described as an execution or a massacre,” said Hendricks.

Speaking afterwards, Nel’s mother Corrie said she feels the system failed her child.

If he had received the right assistance after the first time he fired a firearm at a black person, things might have been different today.

She said an example was made of her child. “I only hope it has the right effect. I hope it will bring an end to racially motivated crimes and not provoke them.”

Corrie Nel said there was much harping on the fact that Nel is from a dysfunctional family.

“I did what I could,” she said. “Johann … suppressed his tension to such a degree that one could not notice it. I didn’t notice it and Johann didn’t speak up.”

Corrie Nel said she still has dreams for her child. She hopes he will complete his matric, start studying further and find his place in prison.

Frikkie Pretorius, Nel’s lawyer, indicated that he will bring an application for leave to appeal on December 12.

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