Officers beat me, says pregnant teen

2012-07-31 20:31

Johannesburg - A friend of a Soweto teenager allegedly killed by a student constable was beaten by policemen before the shooting, the South Gauteng High Court heard on Tuesday.

"One of the officers beat me after finding cigarettes... While they were beating me, I saw Thato lying on the ground," testified the 15-year-old, pregnant teenager.

Sixteen-year-old Thato Mokoka was shot dead in Bramfischerville, Soweto, on February 14, allegedly by student Constable Sipho Mbatha.

Mbatha has denied the murder charge, and said he had no intention of killing the teenager. He claimed his gun went off while he was bending over the youth to search him.

According to the State, he and other police officers had gone to find Mokoka with two women and two boys, who had accused him of being part of a gang and of owning a gun.

Loud footsteps

The girl, who is eight months pregnant, testified in camera about the night of the shooting. Only reporters and family members of Mbatha and Mokoka were allowed in the courtroom.

She was talking to Mokoka, his girlfriend and another boy in a shack outside Mokoka's grandmother's home on the night of the killing.

"We heard loud footsteps. I told the others it was the police. I heard them knocking at the main house. They shouted at Thato's grandmother. I'm not sure if they hit her," she said.

The police surrounded the shack and shone a torch through the window.

"[The male friend] doused the candle and after a while we heard the police cocking their guns. Thato told me to open the door."

The girl said she did so and Mokoka went out with his hands raised.

On Monday, Mokoka's aunt Mpumi Mokoka told the court police had to push open the door.

She said her nephew was punched by a police officer before he could leave the shack and that he crawled out.

Asked about this on Tuesday, the girl said: "Who said Thato was punched? I did not see that."

Beaten by police

She told the court she was the one who was beaten by the police.

"One of the officers beat me after finding cigarettes [that we had been smoking] in Thato's room. The other two friends managed to slip out."

When she came out of the shack, she was then beaten by her mother and the police, she said.

"While they were beating me, I saw Thato lying on the ground. I think there were two police officers by Thato and one of them had his foot on Thato's neck," she told the court.

She suddenly heard about six gunshots and when she looked at Mokoka, he was lying with his face on the ground.

Asked to identify the shooter, the girl turned to Mbatha.

"It was him," she said.

The girl told the court she did not see Mbatha try to search Mokoka.

"I went to Thato [as he lay dead] and told him that those responsible for his murder would go to jail," she said.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

  • jan.spamer - 2012-07-31 22:39

    What was the student constable doing with a pistol???

      Mandy Casey - 2012-07-31 23:07

      Would you like to go into a township without a gun to investigate a case laid of a gangster sowing terror in the community with a gun?

      danny.levin.351 - 2012-08-01 09:59

      Jan, that was not a pistol. to fire 5 or more shots "accidentally" you need to hold an R5 (Assault rifle capable of semi and full auto firing used by the SAPS, SANDF and criminals who bought it from a soldier or cop) with the safety on "auto" and the finger on the trigger. It is common knowledge that over 27000 cops have not been able to pass the same test that a citizen must pass to be declared competent to have a firearm, but nevertheless they are issued with firearms. This is result. similar to a recent case where another such idiot (cop) "accidentally" discharged his R5 in a road-block, in that incident an innocent by-stander was killed.

  • ndou.miranda - 2012-08-01 12:22

    Frank come on, can we really blame the ANC for teenagers falling pregnant, i mean it has been happening for years, i am 25years and when my mom conceived me she was 16, can we really blame the old government for her falling pregnant at that age? I don't think so, I agree with the fact that our education system is a mess, I repeat we cant really blame the government for the carelessness of these young girls.

      frankflower - 2012-08-01 15:05

      O, but I think you can... You can blame the ANC... No use protecting these idiots.

      nqobileshammy.kekana - 2012-08-01 16:14

      i agree with you miranda. the government is not responsible for teenagers to fall pregnant. there are people in the olden days that fell pregnant younger than the age of 15, who were in fact hidden from people just because they were afraid of being embarrassment so being pregnant at a young age is not something new

  • Stephan Ceronio - 2012-08-01 14:36


  • frankflower - 2012-08-01 18:00

    johannesburg, 6 March 2007 (IRIN) - Alarming figures released by a South African provincial education department indicate that schoolgirl pregnancies have doubled in the past year, despite a decade of spending on sex education and AIDS awareness. \r\n\r\nThe number of pregnant schoolgirls jumped from 1,169 in 2005 to 2,336 in 2006 in Gauteng, the country's economic heartland and most populous province, according to statistics released in the provincial parliament. \r\n\r\n\South Africa has a huge teen pregnancy problem - one in three girls has had a baby by the age of 20,\ David Harrison, Chief Executive Officer of LoveLife, South Africa's largest youth-targeted HIV/AIDS campaign, told IRIN. \r\n\r\nIn a country where HIV prevalence is 18.8 percent, the high level of teenage pregnancy has heightened concerns. According to the South African Medical Research Council (MRC), \The latest national survey into HIV prevalence recorded that 16 percent of pregnant women under the age of 20 tested HIV positive.\\r\n \r\nThe problem is not equally serious in all parts of the country: on average, two to three girls fall pregnant in a typical school with 1,200 to 1,400 pupils. \But what is clear is that there are hotspots where things are horribly wrong,\ Harrison said. The Gauteng figures showed 71 percent of pupils pregnant at one school in Soweto, a huge township on the outskirts of Johannesburg. \r\n\r\n\Somehow there are schools where 60 to 70 percent of pupils were pregnant. There is no doubt that this is associated with things like gang activity, coercion and substance abuse,\ Harrison said, adding that according to a 2006 survey, 30 percent of girls in South Africa said \their first sexual experience was forced or under threat of force\. \r\n\r\nBut other factors are also driving the high teenage pregnancy rate in some areas. According to a recent MRC study, 'Blood Blockages and Scolding Nurses: Barriers to Adolescent Contraceptive Use in South Africa', \Nurses' attitudes were a major barrier to teenagers getting hold of contraception. The nurses were uncomfortable about providing teenagers with contraception, as they felt they should not be having sex. They responded to requests for contraception in a manner that was highly judgmental and unhelpful. The girls described it as 'harassment'\. \r\n\r\nThe study also found that social pressures often prevented young women from using contraception: \The girls felt they would only be accepted as women once they had proved their fertility - many mothers wanted their teenage daughters to become pregnant so they could have a baby at home again.\ \r\n\r\nSome observers have suggested that the child support grant provided by the state was an incentive to young girls to fall pregnant, but according to Harrison, \A recent survey of 1,500 girls aged between 15 and 24 indicated that only 2 percent cited the child-care grant as an incentive. About 25 percent just said they wanted to have a baby.\ Other influencing factors - accounting for 20 percent - were \social pressures and self-affirmation\. \r\n\r\nHassan Lorgat, coordinator of the South African chapter of the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), said it was important to understand the causes of these \disappointing figures\, and stressed the need for more research. \There are no studies about the role of males in the problem,\ he commented. \r\n\r\nEducation is fundamental \r\n\r\nThe MRC study recommended \sex education at school before the age of 14, when young people become sexually active\. \r\n\r\nThis should include \information for teenagers about avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, providing detailed information about contraception and its side effects; better management and training for nurses, so they can deal sympathetically with teenagers requiring contraception and provide the necessary information and education campaigns that take away the stigma of teenage sexuality, so that girls are not afraid to ask for contraception\. \r\n\r\nLoveLife's Harrison stressed the role of schools in curbing adolescent pregnancy: \Schoolgoing is protective. [Teenagers] not at school are more likely to fall pregnant than those at school; surveys show girls are 1.7 times more likely to use condoms when in school.\ \r\n\r\nHe said there was a need to determine whether teen pregnancies in Gauteng schools were \really spiraling out of control or whether the higher figures represented improvements in reporting, or [there was] less stigma associated with disclosing a pregnancy\. \r\n\r\nKeeping children in school was essential, Harrison said. \We need to do a better job in anticipating school leaving - that's when they [schoolgirls] become hugely vulnerable.\

  • frankflower - 2012-08-01 18:02

    I will not be silenced. Obviously, something is not being told. And I still wonder, why is a teen pregnant, at fifteen and smoking????? And I still blame the ANC, you have got to be blind if you don't!

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