Thu Oct 20 23:27:32 CAT 2016

'I'm tired of waiting'

By unknown | Feb 11, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

The mother of slain Soweto pupil Thato Radebe, 14, says she has lost hope in the South African justice system.

This follows her child's rape and murder cases not being finalised since the girl was killed last year. The Protea magistrate's court in Soweto has so far postponed the case six times pending DNA results.

Magistrate Herman Badenhorst said last month he was baffled that DNA results had not yet been completed.

The body of Thato, who was a Grade 8 pupil at Bedfordview High School in Johannesburg, was found in an open veld near the Emndeni Library in Soweto last year.

Still dressed in school uniform, the girl's body had injuries to her face. Liquor bottles, two used condoms and blood-splattered stones were found by passersby, who alerted the police.

Her mother, Happy Radebe, said: "It is tiring to attend court and hope that the case will move on to the next level, yet it does not. The court has been waiting for DNA results forever.

"Maybe there is no evidence linking the boys to my child's murder. Why not let me know now? Why keep me waiting?"

She said she had been waiting for justice to prevail for a long time.

"My family is tired now. If there is no case the police must just let the accused walk free. Though it will hurt me if they release, I have given up hope and do not know what else to do," Radebe said.

Thato's family believe the case would have been finalised by now.

The investigating officer, detective Amos Manete, cracked the case, arresting a youth at the crime scene on February 3, the day Thato's body was found. Four more youths were arrested in connection with the brutal murder.

They are Stanley Masemola, 20, Mandla Mtshali, 20, Themba Mndaweni, 18, and Thabiso Ganta, 21. They all face murder and rape charges.

But charges against one of the accused, Nqobile Sibisi, 18, were withdrawn because there was no evidence linking him to the crimes.

But the court said he was not off the hook yet. A 29-year-old man believed to be Thato's boyfriend was arrested last month. He is charged with defeating the ends of justice. It is alleged he saw Thato's body in the veld but failed to inform the police or her family.

The accused are expected to appear in court on Thursday.


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