Jail killer cop for life - victim's mom

2012-08-31 22:16

Johannesburg - The mother of a murdered Soweto teenager asked the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to show no lenience to his killer on Friday.

"Give him a life sentence," Beverly Mokoka said of student Constable Sipho Mbatha.

She was speaking during sentencing proceedings.

Judge Kathleen Satchwell found Mbatha guilty of murdering Thato Mokoka, 16, during a police raid in Bramfischerville, Soweto, on 14 February.

Police went to the Mokoka residence with two boys and two women who alleged that Mokoka was part of a gang that had been terrorising local residents. He was also accused of owning a gun. It was not found.

"When my son said 'Vader [father], vader, I don't have a gun'... As a parent, did he [Mbatha] not feel anything for him?" Mokoka's mother asked.

She said the whole family had been touched by the shooting. Most of them were still receiving counselling.

"I miss my child. I think of him day and night... It hurts to see other boys his age."

The court was told that Mokoka's grandmother, who witnessed the shooting, was now mentally disturbed and had been admitted to hospital.

"After Thato's funeral, my mom would take a plank and go to the spot where Thato died. She'd hold the plank like a gun and act out the shooting."

The teenager's mother told the court that while she was outside the courtroom, Mbatha's 8-year-old son was disrespectful to her.

"He lifted his [middle] finger to me and said the court favours me. He threatened to beat me up as well as the officer who was outside."

The child was kept outside court and was being watched by a police officer.


Earlier, Mbatha broke down while on the stand and apologised to the Mokokas.

"I'm sorry about what happened... God knows it wasn't my intention," he said between sobs.

"I can't sleep at night knowing that a child died in that manner."

Mbatha asked the court for a suspended sentence, and said he had to take care of his unemployed wife and four children, aged between 13 and two months.

Social worker Lieutenant Thoko Sifunda told the court Mbatha had to be hospitalised after having a counselling session following the shooting.

She said Mbatha had diabetes and illnesses of the pancreas and liver.

State advocate David Mothibe argued that although Mbatha was ill, there were medical facilities in prison.

Satchwell said a psychiatrist had to be appointed to determine Mbatha's mental state. The matter would continue on September 17, when the defence would put the psychiatrist on the stand.

Mbatha is out on bail.

  • meshack.letswalo - 2012-09-01 00:28

    Jail him and let him die a slow and painful death in prison. No painkillers for this police thug.

  • thanuj.thulsie - 2012-09-01 03:26

    i am taking no sides here,but this is my 1 he was student constable and probably wasnt use to the R5 rifle,secondly the firearm expert testified that the direction those bullets hit the boy shows the gun was not held stable and this gun having 2 settings,auto and rapid fire,it it was probabaly on rapid fire and once that trigger gets touched than forget it you not stopping that gun. there are hard core killers out there who walk free from court even though evidence against them justifies a conviction ,this poor chap didnt intenionally kill the boy.our justice system works the opposite way honestly

  • Dlangalala Teddy Jabulane - 2012-09-01 04:00

    That boy (the deceased) was a criminal and probably one of those who terrorized people in the townships. Notice how his buddies behaved at his funeral.

      bryan.billy2 - 2012-09-01 05:32

      Are u sure or think so abt wat u ar sayin

      kagiso.ramasodi.5 - 2012-09-01 08:07

      Does that mean he had to die in cold blood? The police went there seeking a gun and they did not find it,so he had to be killed just for that? Had he been shooting at the police that would be understandable!

  • nicolas.gombert.16 - 2012-09-01 07:05

    How many other "unfit to bear a firearm" SAPS members are still lurking out there? Surely these should be removed form active duty?

      theO rAcLe - 2012-09-01 09:32

      Our SAPS "To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target"

  • gavin.lott.9 - 2012-09-01 07:25

    Student constables should only carry rubber bullets!

  • thembisa.nozombile - 2012-09-01 10:26

    There's no doubt that the cop's actions were unlawful and that he needs to pay for what he did, intentional or not...we'll just never know though the truth about the accusations against the 16 year old as he really could've been part of the gang.

  • siphiwom - 2012-09-01 21:00

    verdict appropriate sentencing awaited.

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