Toddlers' stabbing case back in court

2014-12-19 14:51
(File, Nielen de Klerk, News24)

(File, Nielen de Klerk, News24)

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Johannesburg - After claims that the man arrested in connection with the stabbing of a Soweto family had been released, he appeared in the Protea Magistrate's Court on Friday.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Louw earlier said charges against Harris Nhlapho were withdrawn due to lack of evidence.

Upon reviewing the docket, the director of public prosecutions for South Gauteng, however, advised the court to put the matter on the roll and for Nhlapho to appear before a magistrate, Louw said.

"He appeared today [Friday] and the case was postponed to allow him to obtain legal aid and for further investigations," Louw said.

Nhlapho would be back in court on 24 December.

He was allegedly present when a 20-year-old woman, her two children, aged 2 and 3, and their grandmother were attacked in their home in Dobsonville on Tuesday.

‘He was not the man who stabbed us’

The family, however, told journalists that while two men may have been involved in the attack, only one of them was in the house when they were stabbed. They were adamant Nhlapho was not their attacker and police had the wrong man.

"The police are here with me now and they are telling me that the man appeared in court," the grandmother Nancy Nhlapho told Sapa by phone.

"I think they are just wasting our time and buying time because we have told them that this is not the man who stabbed us," she said.

Their attacker did not have dreadlocks and was short.

"Or maybe he was the one waiting outside who helped him carry the television," she said of Nhlapho.

Her daughter Busi Khumalo spoke to journalists at her aunt's house after the NPA initially said the charges against Nhlapho had been withdrawn.

Sitting on the couch in her aunt's living room, Khumalo said they had an idea of who their attacker was and had given police all the information.

"There was no forced entry. It was someone who had a key to the house," she said.

An extra key

She suspected the matter had to do with their home, which they had moved into several months ago.

Her mother later told Sapa that the woman who had sold the house to them had told her the spare keys to the house had been in the possession of another man for the past three weeks.

The description of that man matched that of their attacker, the grandmother said.

Busi Khumalo explained the attack.

"He just walked in and opened my blankets and started stabbing me," she said.

She was stabbed in the arm and just below her breast.

"I said in a low voice to my mother that I'm being hurt," she said.

Until then, the attacker had not known that her mother was sleeping in the same room, on the floor next to the bed.

The attacker turned to the grandmother and nicked her forehead with the knife as she began calling for help from her other daughter who slept in another room.

The attacker turned on her sons when they started screaming. He seemed to have been trying to shut them up as he was worried their screams would alert neighbours, Khumalo said.

Toddlers traumatised

The two boys, who sustained stab wounds to their heads, played around their mother with their cousins as she spoke to the media. One had a large white plaster on his head, while the other had a plaster on his ear.

Khumalo said they were all still traumatised.

"They're still a bit shaken. When he hears a bang, he wakes up," Khumalo said, referring to one of her sons.

"I also still have nightmares."

The attacker broke the immobiliser of their car, smashed one of its windows and made off with a television set.

Khumalo said she and her children would not return to the house.

"I'm not going back there. I won't stay there," she said.

Asked what would happen to the house, she said it was up to her mother to decide.

The boys' father Lehlogonolo Majara said he was relieved authorities had decided to charge Nhlapho.

"I was just confused about this whole case. From what I understood, this guy was on the scene when this whole thing happened," he said.

He claimed police had told him that they had matched his fingerprints to those found on the family's car which had had a window smashed.

"Police also said he has a pending case of house robbery."

Majara was relieved the man would be kept in police custody, but said he would be happier once the knife-wielding attacker was also arrested.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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