WATCH | 'They did not deserve to die such a painful death' - family of youths allegedly necklaced

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  • The families of two deceased youths who were found burnt beyond recognition are devastated and said they did not deserve to die such painful deaths.
  • Mpiyakhe Mokoena and Tshepo Gama were accused of stealing electrical wires, a tap and pipes at an Orange Farm house.
  • Police are investigating a case of murder. 

Two families in Orange Farm, outside Johannesburg, are devastated by the death of two youths aged 16 and 21.

The Tshepo Gama, 16, and Mpiyakhe Mokoena, 21, were allegedly abducted and burned beyond recognition on 30 August in Orange Farm.

Their charred bodies were discovered at a cemetery in Phomolong.

The youths were accused of stealing electrical wires, pipes and a tap at a house in the community.

Attacked at home

Elias Nhlapo, 48, Mokoena's father told News24 that several armed men stormed his house looking for his son.

He said several men broke down their door. Two of the men made their way to his room while he was asleep.

"They were carrying torches and guns, I thought they were police. I asked them how they entered my house and one of them said I should relax. They are not looking for me; they are looking for my son."

When Mokoena called out to his father, the men made their way to the 21-year-old's room. 

"They grabbed him and took him outside," Nhlapo said.

When Mokoena’s brother Mzikayifani Nhlapo gave chase, the men pointed their firearms at him. 

Elias and Mzikayifani helplessly watched as they dragged a screaming Mokoena away and into a bakkie. 

Mzikayifani said his brother enjoyed cleaning the yard. He told News24 Mokoena was "a good dresser" and that he'd be missed.

Elias described his son as "a naughty person" who had a problem with substance abuse.

But he said the attack made little sense as the house his son was accused of breaking into had been robbed before.

He believes Mokoena and Gama made off with the little that was left behind. 

Tshepo Gama and Mpiyakhe Mokoena's bodies were found at Phomolong cemetery in Orange Farm. They were allegedly necklaced after stealing a tap and electrical wires.
Elias Nhlapo said he watched helplessly as armed suspects took his son away.
Matshidiso Selina Nhlapo, Mpiyakhe Mokoena's mom said she wanted to see the people who killed her son behind bars.

Identified by his shoes

Gama's aunt Pulane Gama, 35, described her nephew as well-mannered. He was the second of five children. 

"He had a strong bond with children… when he came home, Tshepo always made sure he bought them sweets. He was not disrespectful and always greeted people," she said.

Initially, she wasn't worried when he didn't come home. 

"Tshepo hardly sleeps at home, and we told ourselves he is probably out somewhere hiding at a friend's place," Pulane Gama told News24.

But when they overheard a neighbour speaking about two people who were burnt beyond recognition, the family headed to the police station and mortuary. 

VaalWeekblad reported that residents of the small farmstead on the other side of the N1 adjacent to Orange Farm were woken up by screams when the duo was allegedly dragged, beaten and necklaced.

Pauline Gama said it was difficult to identify her nephew because his entire body was burnt. They could only recognise his shoes. 

"I don't understand why they had to kill them so brutally just for a tap and wires. We are very broken and Tshepo was still doing Grade 9 at Tharabollo Secondary School," she said.

They did not deserve to die such a painful death.

Nhlapo also saw the bodies at the mortuary. 

"My heart broke into pieces when I saw his friend. His head was smashed and his body was entirely burnt, he died a painful death," Nhlapho said.

Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo said police were investigating a case of murder.

"Orange Farm Police received a complaint of murder at Phomolong cemetery, in Poortjie, Orange Farm. Upon their arrival, they saw two bodies of people suspected to be aged between 18 and 21 who were burnt beyond recognition."

The families held a joint funeral at the Orange Farm multipurpose centre last week, where they called for justice be done. 

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