#JusticeforThoriso: Two fathers speak after 5 pupils arrested for Polokwane murder

27 February 2019 - 08:31
By Nico Gous
RIP Thoriso Themane: A petition has been started to ensure his killers are jailed.
Image: Thobane Mohlaloga via Facebook RIP Thoriso Themane: A petition has been started to ensure his killers are jailed.

The father of one of the boys arrested for the murder of Thoriso Themane, who was allegedly killed by a group of high school pupils, denied his son is "untouchable".

Sowetan reported on Tuesday that the 15-year-old son of a retired police officer is among the five people arrested for the murder of the local musician in Polokwane over the weekend.

"I can’t send my son to do crime, it was just a group of naughty boys who got involved in something they know nothing about," the father said, who cannot be named to protect the minor. The father is believed to be a retired warrant officer.

He said his son confessed to taking part in the assault of the man, kicking him several times. The boy claimed that Themane stole one of his friend's cellphones.

"Apparently, they chased the suspect until he jumped into a nearby property where a woman at the property summoned help. Two men responded and one of them hit the [now] deceased with a wheel spanner. So when my son and his friends joined in the attack, the man had already been bleeding," the father said.

Themane’s father, pastor Mahlapahlapana Themane, 59, said he wanted the murderers to be made to pay for the crime. Mahlapahlapana said he chose not to watch the videos of his son being attacked.

Themane was a college student and a local musician. The pastor said his son had left church practice on Saturday and never came back.

"We left for church on Sunday and left the house unlocked, thinking he will come home. However, I was suspicious because he always texted or called to inform us what time he will be coming back home. After the church service he was still nowhere to be found," the father said.

He said he ultimately found his son dead at Polokwane Provincial Hospital, after a long search on Sunday.

Amid the #JusticeForThoriso posts on Twitter are two videos depicting what seem to be Themane's last moments alive.

One of the videos shows what seems like a bloodied and unresponsive Themane lying on the ground as he is still being kicked in the face by a group of unidentified people. Another video shows what seems like his lifeless body being carried by the limbs by his attackers.

In a third video, an unknown male voice asks a 15-year-old boy: “Mfana ke gore o kwa botse ka gore o bolaile motho?" (Do you feel happy that you killed a person?)

The teenager answers: “Akere ke ya tseba Tyma yaka yena le ka se mo dire selo." (I know my father is untouchable)

Glowrii Lerato Pieters shared a Facebook post imagining Themane's point of view.

"I (Themane) had dreams, but the pain was too much to bear because they kept on hitting me hard. I gave up on myself. I was not dead yet, but I had given up.

"I couldn't believe that my life was ended. I wanted to live, pursue my dreams, have a family one day and make my parents proud.

"To all my friends and family, I am as cold as ice in a mortuary. I will soon go to my grave. I can't fight anymore. I give you my battles, assist me in getting justice."

On social media, a former classmate wrote: "I am in shock. Angry and hurt at the same time. He was a good guy and would have never hurt anyone."

Asked how she felt about the allegations that Themane's killers could be children, the former classmate said: "I think they should serve their time. They know what is right and wrong - they know there are consequences for their actions. The fact that they are minors cannot be used as an excuse."

A former classmate of Themane's told TimesLIVE that she was hurt by the manner in which he is believed to have died.

"We went to Flora Park Comprehensive high school and matriculated in 2011 together. He was the class clown who made everyone laugh," said the woman, who asked not to be named.

"I hated the school but he made things better."

Police spokesperson col Moatshe Ngoepe said Themane's body was found lying in a street in Flora Park, Polokwane on Sunday morning around 9:50am.

An online petition was started on Monday calling for the arrest and imprisonment of the murderers. It has so far received more than 17,000 signatures. 

National police commissioner general Khehla John Sitole said on Wednesday that the five suspects will appear in the Polokwane magistrate's court on Thursday on a charge of murder. They are Grade 9 and 10 school pupils, aged 15 and 16.