Thoriso Themane death: Sentencing proceedings kick off in murder case of aspiring musician

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Thoriso Themane
Thoriso Themane
  • Sentencing proceedings in the murder case of Thoriso Themane started in the Polokwane High Court on Monday.
  • Themane was attacked and killed by a group of teenagers and two adults in 2019.
  • The probation officer on Monday recommended that the teens be sent for rehabilitation at a youth centre.

The Polokwane High Court in Limpopo on Monday started sentencing proceedings in the case of six teenagers and two adults who assaulted and murdered aspiring musician Thoriso Themane almost three years ago.

Four teenagers have since been found guilty of murder, while two others were convicted of common assault after submitting a plea statement admitting to slapping Themane.

The two adults – Chuene Maleka and Alfred Mothapo – were found guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

The probation officer, Malesela William Raphela, took the stand on Monday and told Deputy Judge President Violet Semenya that the offence committed was serious and may require a harsh sentence to deter the repetition of the crime by other teenagers.

Under cross-examination, he recommended that the four teenagers found guilty of murder be sent for rehabilitation at a youth centre for five years or until they turn 21 - whichever comes first.

This triggered lengthy legal arguments between the State and defence attorneys particularly with regard to sections of the law that deal with serious cases involving minors.

READ | Four teens found guilty of murdering aspiring Limpopo musician Thoriso Themane

All the teenagers have now turned 18. However, the case is still being dealt with under the Child Justice Act, which means their identities, among others, cannot  be disclosed.

Themane, who was 23 years old at the time of the incident, was brutally attacked and killed in the Polokwane suburb of Fauna Park on 23 February 2019. He succumbed to his injuries in hospital the following day.

The four teenagers were found guilty of murder on the basis of a doctrine of common purpose since they were found to be involved in all stages of the attack which started at the local park.

The attack continued at the house of one of the adult accused, where Themane attempted to seek refuge.

Themane managed to flee to another house, but the attack continued. It was then that the owner - after realising the seriousness of the injuries - called members of the local community policing forum.

The attack was captured on video, which went viral and sparked protest action in Polokwane at the time.

Sentencing proceedings will continue on Tuesday.

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