Soweto teen didn't have a gun, says cop

2012-08-01 21:25
Thato Mokoka's mother and grandmother (File, Sapa)

Thato Mokoka's mother and grandmother (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - A policeman told colleagues there was no gun in the shack of a Soweto teenager killed during a search, the South Gauteng High Court heard on Wednesday.

Constable Clifford Mathebula said he was part of a group of officers who went to the Bramfischerville house of Thato Mokoka on February 14, when the 16-year-old was shot.

Two boys and two women accompanied the police. They claimed Mokoka was part of a gang called the BWA (Boys with Advices), and that he had a gun.

"I searched the shack and even when I was still inside, I said there was no gun," Mathebula said.

"I said it again as I went outside where student Constable Sipho Mbatha was holding a gun above Mokoka. I said 'let's go'. No one responded."

He walked past Mbatha and heard gunshots.

"I turned around and saw Mbatha throw the gun to the ground. The boy had wounds."

Mbatha is accused of killing Mokoka. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

He earlier told the court it was not his intention to kill Mokoka, and that his rifle went off as he bent down trying to search the teenager, who was lying face-down on the ground.

Earlier on Wednesday, Kenneth Manyage, for Mbatha, told the court a shot went off before Mbatha's rifle was fired. This was mentioned in Mbatha's statement.

A 15-year-old girl who testified in camera before Mathebula agreed that there was a shot.

"I thought this shot went off to frighten Thato. I'm not sure where it came from," she said.

Manyage said the constable was on one knee, searching Mokoka and trying to get him to lie still when he heard the first gunshot.

Mathebula denied having heard the first shot and seeing Mbatha on his knees.

The trial continues on Thursday.

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