While millions worldwide celebrated Christmas, it was a period of mourning for a Mpumalanga family.
This was after a 10-year-old boy died after he was allegedly brutally beaten and tortured by his father and a cousin.
Nkosinathi John Mahlangu, of Ekosini section at Weltevrede near Siyabuswa, passed grade 2 this year and was looking forward to an exciting new year in grade 3, according to his paternal grandmother, Sarah Thugwane, 76.
He was mercilessly assaulted with a piece of metal wire and stones, and tortured with pliers allegedly by his security guard father Charles Mahlangu, 33, and his niece, Meisie Mahlangu, 23, on Friday. They accused him of having stolen R100 from Meisie.
The boy's parents did not raise him and he was brought up by his paternal grandmother. He was at home with other children when he was accused of the theft which he denied, according to police.
Thugwane, who found Nkosinathi in bed when she returned home, said he was groaning with pain.
"He could not speak or stand up," she said.
"He tried to stand up and immediately fell down and that's when an ambulance was called to take him to hospital."
Thugwane said Nkosinathi started speaking at hospital and told his aunt that he "only confessed" to the theft of the money hoping the severe beating and torture would stop.
"I did not do it," he told his aunt shortly before he died.
Inspector Shawane Sepato said despite his denial "the two suspects allegedly continued to torture him with pliers, assaulted him with a variety of weapons, including stones and a wire until he 'confessed'".
Sepato said Mahlangu threatened to take his own life after he received the news of Nkosinathi's death on his arrival back home from work.
He left home saying he was going to kill himself. His niece was seen at an initiation ceremony but has also since disappeared. Family members managed to reach Mahlangu on his cellphone but it later went off.
Sepato said a manhunt has been launched for the couple and he appealed to anyone with relevant information to contact their nearest police station or call the Crime Stop number on 08600-10111 at any hour.