killer teen frenzy
Still reeling from the shocking, indiscriminate shooting by a gun-toting teenager on Monday, Skielik residents camped outside court hoping to see him yesterday.
Swartruggens, a small town in North West, came to a standstill on Tuesday when residents barricaded the main road in protest against the shooting. Many were expecting to see the teenager appear in court yesterday.
But police spokesman Superintendent Louis Jacobs said the alleged killer will instead appear in court today.
Residents carried placards and chanted "no bail" and "hang him" in front of the court gates. Police were still maintaining a heavy presence in Skielik yesterday.
The teenager drove 2km from his father's farmstead and parked his van on the side of the road on Monday.
Upon entering Skielik, he started shooting randomly, killing three-month-old Keditlhotse Moiphitlhi, who was on her mother's back.
Her mother, Ikgopoleng, died the following day in hospital after she was also shot while trying to run away with her baby.
Sivuyile Dinana was also shot in his cousin's yard. He had visited his relative for the day. Ten-year-old Tshepo Motshelanoka was shot three times while playing alone in the yard. He collapsed on top of the makeshift cart he was pushing and died instantly.
At the end of the rampage, four people had died and seven were hospitalised.
The teenager was handed a five-year suspended sentence in 2003 after he was tried and found guilty for shooting a black male he had "mistaken for a baboon".
Legal expert advocate Kaya Zweni said that a suspended sentence can be handed down to both minors and adults. "This depends on the nature of the offence and on whether he was a first-time offender or not."
Asked why the suspect was not sent to a juvenile prison, Zweni said that happens only when the sentence is not suspended.
But residents and families of the victims want to see him behind bars.
"I will never believe in the impartiality of the justice system ever again if he also walks out a 'free man' this time," said Dikeledi Mogale, who was waving a placard outside court.