Thato didn't deserve to die - Mbatha

2012-08-31 17:30

Johannesburg - A distraught student constable Sipho Mbatha told a social worker that Thato Mokoka did not deserve to die in the manner he did, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg heard on Friday.

Lieutenant Thoko Sifunda, who is also a social worker for the Dobsonville police station, told the court Mbatha was emotional when she visited him in jail a week after the teenager's shooting.

''His face changed when I asked him about what happened. He said 'Thoko, this was a child. He did not deserve to die in that manner'," Sifunda said.

Mbatha cried and said he did not understand what happened.

''He told me he held the gun, but he couldn't understand how it went off," Sifunda testified.

She was speaking during arguments in mitigation of Mbatha's sentencing, after he was found guilty earlier on Friday of killing Mokoka.

Sifunda said Mbatha kept saying he wondered how the family was doing, what they were feeling, or what was going through their minds.

''I don't remember him saying he wanted to apologise, but he kept saying he was concerned about them."

Sifunda told the court she went to see him again in prison on 14 March.

''He was happy to see me. He lightened up like a child when he saw me."

The court was told Mbatha was admitted to hospital after the session as he suffered from diabetes and illnesses of the pancreas and liver.

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

In finding Mbatha guilty, Judge Kathleen Satchwell said: ''The barrel of the gun wasn't pointed at his feet or legs. The gun was pointed at his head and back. Any shooting would have resulted in death, not injury."

Mokoka, 16, was shot dead during a police raid at his grandmother's house in Braamfischerville, Soweto, on 14 February. Mbatha's R5 rifle discharged as he bent over to search a prone Mokoka.

Sentencing continues.

  • tin.can.501598 - 2012-08-31 19:51

    I will lie until you catch me is what he meant to mean !

  • nani.ngoasheng - 2012-08-31 21:33

    You pulled the trigger you idiot!

  • tyroymike3 - 2012-08-31 22:34

    This the result of ignorance and poor training - the minister of Police must be held responsible for this mess.Putting an automatic weapon in the hands of an untrained and very nervous novice - that is the real crime in S A - for the sake of political expediency , the most stupid and illogical decisions are made that can have dire consequences for the ordinary person in the street. Of course , no one will be held responsible for this chain of events , except the poor fool at the end of the line who will take all the heat - never mind the trauma experienced by the victims family . Will an intelligent person please stand up and lead us from the darkness - these political fools and cretins have gorged their fill - this insanity has to end !!

      tw2066 - 2012-09-01 07:13

      Problem is that idiot votes for idiot who appoints idiot.

  • kobus.dietrichsen - 2012-09-01 01:24

    how the hell can they issue or permit a untrained student to carry an automatic rifle - further since when does students conduct raids, this is BS !!!!!!!

  • flysouth - 2012-09-01 10:59

    "..he held the gun, but he couldn't understand how it went off" And that sums up the level of firearms competency (and intelligence) of many SAPS members.

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