Cartridges lay around Soweto teen's body

2012-08-08 14:32
Student police Constable Sipho Mbatha, accused of shooting dead Soweto teenager Thato Mokoka, appears in the South Gauteng High Court. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Student police Constable Sipho Mbatha, accused of shooting dead Soweto teenager Thato Mokoka, appears in the South Gauteng High Court. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Several cartridges were lying around the spot where a Soweto teenager was shot dead, the South Gauteng High Court heard on Wednesday.

The victim's uncle, Russel Mokoka, testified that when he arrived at the scene he found Thato Mokoka, 16, lying uncovered. He said the scene had not been cordoned off. He then covered his nephew's body.

Police would not show him who had killed his nephew.

"I used my phone to light the area where Thato was lying. I saw many cartridges there. I picked one up with a tissue and put it in my pocket."

Mokoka said he hoped the cartridge could help an expert identify the gun that killed his nephew, as well as his killer. The cartridge was handed to authorities several days later.

Student Constable Sipho Mbatha is on trial for allegedly killing the boy outside his grandmother's house in Bramfischerville, Soweto, on February 14.

During a tea break, members of the Mokoka family accused Mbatha's family of threatening the uncle. The Mbathas in turn claimed the Mokokas threatened Mbatha when he came to court.

Thato Mokoka was killed during a police search of a shack at the back of his grandmother's home. He was alleged to have been part of a local gang and in possession of an illegal firearm. The gun was never found.

Mbatha has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge against him. He said his R-5 rifle went off accidentally as he tried to search Mokoka, who was lying on the ground on his stomach.

Student Constable Nkateko Chauke was next in line to take the stand.

The trial continues.
- SAPA

Read more on:    police  |  sipho mbatha  |  thato mokoka  |  johannesburg  |  soweto  |  police brutality
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