Distraught dad who shot son by mistake enters into plea agreement

12 February 2019 - 12:53 By Ernest Mabuza
Sibusiso Emanuel Tshabalala at the Lenasia magistrate's court. File photo.
Sibusiso Emanuel Tshabalala at the Lenasia magistrate's court. File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

A father who shot dead his teenage son outside school, believing he was a hijacker, will soon know his fate.

The Lenasia magistrate’s court heard on Tuesday that lawyers for Sibusiso Emmanuel Tshabalala and the office of the director of public prosecutions (DPP) have reached a decision to draft a plea and sentence agreement.

Luyanda, 16, was killed in June 2018 after finishing extra classes. His father had fallen asleep in his car, waiting for him to finish, when he knocked on the window. Mistaking him for a criminal, Tshabalala opened fire.

Tshabalala, from Ennerdale in southern Johannesburg, filed representations with the DPP in December 2018 asking that a charge of murder against him be changed to a lesser charge.

During a brief appearance in court on Tuesday, magistrate Maggie van der Merwe told Tshabalala that his lawyer and the DPP had agreed on a charge that he would plead to, and a sentence.

"They have decided they will enter into a formal plea agreement, which is an agreement in writing.

"That agreement will determine the charge, will determine the facts on which you are entering the plea of guilty and will determine the sentence," Van der Merwe told Tshabalala.

Van der Merwe said usually this type of plea and sentence agreement was presented to the court, and as a rule she would endorse it.

The agreement must still be drafted and the defence and prosecution asked to be given six weeks to do so.

“It has been agreed that in the interim, a probation officer's report would still need to be obtained. Expect a visit from them, you and your family."

There will also be a victim impact statement presented to court, giving insight into the impact of the incident.

"All these reports have to be obtained and this formal plea agreement has to be drafted. As such, I have been asked to postpone the matter for a period of six weeks," Van der Merwe said.

The matter was postponed until April 23.

Tshabalala was so heartbroken after the shooting that he wanted to take his own life.

"He's suffering. He wanted to take his own life. I had to be strong for him. We had to talk through this, telling him about his other young children," his wife Siphiwe Khalishwayo previously told TimesLIVE.


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