death by hatred

Getrude Makhafola

Getrude Makhafola

The man who shot and killed four people, including a three-month old baby, in Swartruggens, North West, on Monday afternoon was charged for a similar attack in 2003.

The suspect was arrested late yesterday after a tip-off by local farmers that he was hiding in one of the surrounding farmsteads.

He was first arrested in 2003 for shooting a grass-cutter who was working on his father's farm in Swartruggens.

On that afternoon, nine people were injured in the shooting spree.

"He was charged with attempted murder and given a suspended five-year sentence because he was a minor back in 2003," said police spokesman Superintendent Peter du Plessis yesterday.

Du Plessis said the suspect was now in trouble because he had committed murder.

He also said that because the suspect had used his father's firearm for the second time, the farmer was arrested again for the contravening the Firearm Controls Act by not keeping the gun from his son.

The shooting took place at Skielik, an informal settlement in Swaartruggens, on Monday afternoon when the suspect opened fire at residents.

Grade five pupil Tshepo Motshelanoka, 10, was playing with a makeshift cart when he was shot three times in the face, neck and back. He fell on to his cart and died. He was the first victim.

A few seconds later Ikgopoleng Moiphitlhi, 31, was shot not far from her home, carrying her three-month-old baby Keditlhotse. The child died instantly while her mother died at the Rustenburg hospital yesterday just after midday.

Tshepo's mother Christina, who works in Pretoria, arrived home on Monday night to find her first-born son dead.

"I don't want any money from the killer, I want the police to hand him over to us," she said.

"What he did to an innocent child is beyond comprehension, he deserves the same treatment."

A 39-year-old man, originally from the Eastern Cape, was killed in his cousin's yard. He is still to be named because his next of kin have not yet been notified of his death.

Three-year-old survivor Onkarabile Loutering was shot in the arm on the doorstep of a neighbour's houses while trying to get away from the gun-toting killer.

"We are now afraid in our own land, no one had expected this to happen on Monday," said Kenneth Mzimela, a resident.

"These people are obviously out to finish us completely."

North West Premier Edna Molewa said the province held a two-hour meeting with local officials and the police.

"We will engage the farmer's union, the community and even the Human Rights Commission to put an end to this," she said.

Molewa visited the families of the deceased as well as the survivors at the nearby Swartruggens hospital.

The Skielik community was up in arms.

They had barricaded the road between Swartruggens and Koster from early yesterday, protesting against the shooting.

Greater Bojanala mayor Raymond Motsepe said: "It is disappointing that the hostility and attitudes towards black people still feature in this area."