Teen tells court of Soweto shooting vow

2012-07-31 15:46
Thato Mokoka's mother and grandmother (File, Sapa)

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

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Johannesburg - A teenage girl vowed, over the body of slain Soweto teenager Thato Mokoka, to see justice done and his killer brought to book, she told the South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday.

"I went to Thato [as he lay dead] and told him that those responsible for his murder would go to jail," the 15-year-old, pregnant girl testified in the trial of student Constable Sipho Mbatha.

Mbatha allegedly shot 16-year-old Mokoka seven times in Bramfischerville, Soweto, on February 14.

The court ruled on Tuesday that the girl testify in camera, in the presence of only a handful of reporters and family of Mokoka and Mbatha.

She told the court she was at the scene when Mokoka was killed.

They were sitting in his room talking when the police banged on the door.

"They came in and assaulted us, asking about a gun."

The girl said she saw a policeman put his foot on Mokoka's neck. She did not see him search Mokoka, and eventually heard gunshots.

She pointed out Mbatha as the policeman standing over Mokoka when the gun went off.

"It was him," she said.

She estimated that about six shots went off before the policeman put the weapon down next to Mokoka.

On Monday, his aunt Mpumi Mokoka told the court a group of police came knocking on her door that night, looking for her nephew.

They told her they suspected he was a member of a gang called the BWA, and that he owned a firearm.

She said she heard seven shots, but could not identify Mbatha as the person who pulled the trigger.

Mbatha has pleaded not guilty.

"I don't plead guilty to murder but to culpable homicide. It was not my intention," he told the court on Monday.

Mbatha claimed the gun went off when he bent over to search Mokoka.

The trial continues.
- SAPA
Read more on:    police  |  sipho mbatha  |  thato mokoka  |  johannesburg  |  soweto  |  police brutality
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