Suspects nabbed for Ditebogo's murder not charged amid ongoing investigation

17 May 2024 - 16:49
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The parents of Ditebogo Junior Phalane at his funeral service on Friday. He was killed by robbers in Soshanguve last week.
The parents of Ditebogo Junior Phalane at his funeral service on Friday. He was killed by robbers in Soshanguve last week.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Two suspects arrested on Thursday in connection with the murder of Ditebogo Junior Phalane, who was shot dead during his father's hijacking outside their home in Soshanguve last week, have not yet been charged with his murder.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said this was because investigations were still ongoing.

The two men aged 30 and 36 appeared in separate courts on Friday.

NPA spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said one of the suspects appeared in the Soshanguve magistrate's court and the other in the Pretoria North magistrate's court.

“They both faced a charge of possession of unlawful firearm and ammunition.

“At this point, the two accused people are not linked to the killing of the five-year-old in Soshanguve, however, the investigations are ongoing. But at this point the two accused are not facing a charge of murder,” Mahanjana said.

During the court proceedings, the media and the public were not allowed inside the courtrooms, so as not to compromise further investigations and because an identity parade still needs to be conducted.

The men are expected in court again on May 27 and May 28 respectively.

Meanwhile, Ditebogo was laid to rest in Soshanguve on Friday.

Those in attendance included political leaders such as the EFF's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, DA Gauteng leader Solly Msimanga, police minister Bheki Cele and public figures including Lamiez Holworthy and her husband Khuli Chana.

Ndlozi told Ditebogo's father to take solace in the fact that he was present until the end of his son's life.

“Junior had a dream to become a lawyer. At five years old, he already knew where he wanted to go.

“You were a great father, that is why that boy ran to the gate because you were a great father, you were a great parent. You are already a much better man than many men in society. I want you to take solace that you were present till the end,” he said.

Ndlozi said something was wrong in Soshanguve.

“I don't know why minister (Cele) you are still a minister. Crime has defeated you, I intimated to you in the last funeral. Let us admit what we are having here in South Africa is not crime, it's a war.”

Ndlozi said the system of criminal investigation was broken.

“The police know where nyaope in Soshanguve is sold. The police are on the payroll of drug dealers. Ours is a broken society, we live in a war zone,” he said.

According to Ndlozi, “the true enemy is poverty”.

However, Cele disagreed that poverty was the reason behind the high crime rate.

“I refuse to buy this thing that people are doing bad because they are poor. There are so many rich people who are doing hell of a crime. A criminal is a criminal, poor or rich, white or black is a criminal and should be treated as such,” he said.

Holworthy urged the community to take a stand.

“May this child's death not be in vain. Can we stop turning a blind eye to the injustices that are happening in front of us? Can we stop celebrating criminals?” she said.

African Transformation Movement councillor Mncedi Ndzwanana urged South Africans to unite and fight crime. 

“We are killing each other and also killing young children.. We cannot allow these hijackers to dwell in Soshanguve. These hijackers, killers, robbers are not supposed to live among us,” he said.

Msimanga called on political leaders to put their differences aside and unite in fighting crime.

TimesLIVE


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