Teen tells court of Soweto shooting vow

2012-07-31 15:46

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.

  • phumi.tshabalala.35 - 2012-07-31 15:59

    The gun accidentally went off when he bent down to search the suspect... - 7 TIMES??! B*tch please!

      andrew.pottow - 2012-07-31 16:14

      If it was on full auto, that happens if you depress the trigger for 0.6 seconds - its more than possible. Either this is a terrible case of police brutality or an equally unacceptable case of under trained police. A recent audit found that thousands of SAPS members haven't passed their firearms proficiency courses but still carry firearms. A firearm is as safe as a baton in the right hands but a devastating weapon capable of causing a catasrophe if used improperly. Either way - heads must roll!

      chaplinncharlie - 2012-07-31 16:19

      It didn't go of by accident... He pulled the trigger... Why would you leave a training officer with a victim alone anyway. I suspect foul play here... On another note... Did i read it right a girl (15 years old) pregnant??? Is that the norm here in SA???

      chaplinncharlie - 2012-07-31 16:20

      sorry should be suspect and not Victim but the suspect is the Victim in this report... Quite Sadly..

      andrew.pottow - 2012-07-31 16:24

      I agree with you - and AD(accidental discharge) is not an accident. Whether down to negligence on the part of the trainee officer if trained correctly or on the part of the SAPS for giving the weapon to an untrained person.

  • Ntobane Setabola - 2012-07-31 16:08

    Mob justice would be a good solution to that killer. If it wasn't his intention to kill he would have went there with a bible not a revolver.He pressed that boy on the ground with his foot on the boy's neck,not even animals are treated like that.\r\nHow long are cops gona be let loose to walk around us armed and killing us,it high time the communities discipline every wrong doer themselves.

  • Destiny Zar Vilakazi-Thiswana - 2012-07-31 16:10

    im failing 2 understand how a firearm cn mistakenly be fired 7times!! haai jst plead guilty to murder coz yo excuse is just plain ridiculous! our intelligence is being patronised here

      andrew.pottow - 2012-07-31 16:20

      If you see my comment below, reports indicate it was an R4/R5 type assualt rifle. On full auto it empties a 30 round magazine in less than 3 seconds.

  • bonganiz3 - 2012-07-31 17:07

    Mr Policeman,stop insulting our intelligence,didn't ur gun had a safety pin?n y was ur boot(shoe)on the victims neck?u should tell us what was your intention?we dnt need ppl like u in our police force...

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