Soweto teen punched before killing

2012-07-30 16:47

Johannesburg - A Soweto teenager was punched in the face by a police officer before he was shot dead, his aunt told the South Gauteng High Court on Monday.

The teenager fell to the ground, then police asked him "where the gun was", Winnie Mokoka testified.

"Thato said 'Mom, I did nothing. Tell them I did nothing and I don't know anything about a gun'."

Mokoka was giving evidence in the trial of student constable Sipho Mbatha, charged with shooting dead 16-year-old Thato Mokoka on February 14 this year.

Mbatha denied guilt.

"I don't plead guilty to murder but to culpable homicide. It was not my intention," he said in the morning.

Mokoka said a group of police officers came knocking on her door that night, looking for Thato.


The officers said they suspected he was a member of a gang called the BWA, and that he owned a firearm.

The police were accompanied by two women and two boys, who had apparently raised complaints over the teenager.

Mokoka said she pointed towards a shack.

"The police then went to the shack, knocked several times before pushing in the door. A girl came running out and she stood next to me. There were other people in the shack still."

The police went into the shack and screams were heard. Thato then came out. A police officer punched him in the face.

Mokoka said Thato told the police he knew nothing about a gun.

A woman who was with the police said Thato had a gun and people were tired of him.

Mokoka testified that one officer held Thato down with his foot on Thato's neck and a gun over him.

Gun went off

Other officers continued to search the shack. Suddenly several gunshots were fired and it became clear that Thato had been hit.

Mokoka could not point out student constable Sipho Mbatha as the one who pulled the trigger.

Members of the Mokoka family cried while she testified.

Mbatha is accused of shooting Mokoka several times as he lay on the ground outside the house.

He claimed that as he bent over to search Mokoka a gun went off.

Judge Kathleen Satchwell approved a verbal application by members of the media to record certain parts of the trial.

The trial continues.

  • danny.levin.351 - 2012-07-30 17:09

    God help us all. if you are suspected of a crime you can expect to have be knocked to the ground with brute force despite not resisting arrest, and then have an incompetent thug keep you down with his foot on your neck and an automatic firearm pointed at you with the safety-off and the idiot (AKA student constable) put his finger on the trigger, and off course "the gun went off"...

      dries.appelgryn - 2012-07-30 17:35

      So do we now await the results of tests on firearms used by policemen who were on the scene?

      chaplinncharlie - 2012-07-30 17:43

      No, We await for the rope to be hung....

      Andre - 2012-07-30 18:27

      You forgot to say that 10% of these sap-dogs didn't succeed a gun test but baby zuma mthethwa find that there is no need and every failed policeman can carry a gun with the instuction: SHOOT TO KILL. The present aim from the anc is not to protect the ppl but to bring FEAR in each and every one. Communist policy: RULE WITH FEAR.

  • Jaffea Joe - 2012-07-30 17:21

    I'm not saying he shoulda shot the boy, bt please, u don't just get Police showing up at ur house with loaded guns just because u r a good citizen

      danny.levin.351 - 2012-07-30 18:06

      Joe, you are funny (or maybe not). one one hand you have posted calling a convicted criminal (jackie Selebi) "honourable" and now you say that a chap who was not tried and convicted is to blame for a cop shooting him dead. Whether or not he was a good citizen has nothing to do with the fact that he was abused and then killed by an incompetent bunch of thugs in blue. (if at least one of them was competent he would have told the chop who fired the shots to keep his finger off the trigger).

      nqobileshammy.kekana - 2012-08-01 16:04

      @joe even if you were a good citizen your going to be treated like a criminal.

  • alex.radnitz - 2012-07-30 17:31

    There is more to this than is being said I think.....

  • danny.dinoge - 2012-07-30 17:47

    Horrible News

  • lulama.mbelwa - 2012-07-30 18:42

    Our kids are dying in the hands of police who are meant to protect us. May justice play its course.

  • marleze.baartman - 2012-07-30 20:41

    This is such a sad story, he was still a child and not yet convicted of anything. I think about my own teenage son and how devastated the child's mom and grandmom must have been and still is.

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