Two fathers speak after 5 pupils arrested for Thoriso Themane's murder
A retired Limpopo policeman whose 15-year-old son is among five people arrested for the murder of a Polokwane man has expressed shock at the killing.
Yesterday, police confirmed that five suspects aged between 15 and 16 were arrested following an alleged gang-related killing of Thorisho Themane, 28.
Themane's killing went viral on social media after a video emerged showing a group of high school pupils brutally assaulting him as he lay helpless and bleeding on the floor.
The incident, Limpopo police said, happened on Saturday evening at Flora Park.
Themane died at a local hospital at the weekend after succumbing to his injuries.
On Monday, a startling video clip of a 15-year-old grade 9 pupil at Capricorn High School surfaced where he appeared to admit he was involved in the assault.
In the video, an unknown man asked the 15-year-old boy: "Mfana ke gore o kwa botse ka gore o bolaile motho? (Do you feel happy that you killed a person?)
The teenager then retorted: "Akere ke ya tseba Tyma yaka yena le ka se mo dire selo
(I know my father is untouchable]."
The video and killing have sparked a social media outcry, with the deceased's friends creating a campaign called #JusticeForThorisho.
The teen's father yesterday told Sowetan his son had confessed to taking part in the assault of the man, kicking him several times.
The father, who cannot be named to protect the minor, said his son claimed the deceased had stolen a cellphone from one of his friends when they decided to pursue him.
The father denied that he was "untouchable" and said it was the first time his son had been involved in any crime.
"I saw the video but I don't know the intention of the person who was asking the question. I can't send my son to do crime, it was just a group of naughty boys who got involved in something they know nothing about," he said.
"I just came from the police station where my son is held. It was a group of children [involved] after one of their friends said his phone was stolen by the deceased.
... it was just a group of naughty boys who got involved in something they know nothing about
"Apparently, they chased the suspect until he jumped into a nearby property where a woman at the property summoned help. Two men responded and one of them hit the deceased with a wheel spanner. So when my son and his friends joined in the attack, the man had already been bleeding," the father said.
Themane's grieving father Pastor Mahlapahlapana Themane, 59, said he wanted those responsible for his son's murder to go to jail and pay for their sins.
The pastor said he had opted not to view the video of his son being attacked by the group.
Themane was a college student and a local musician from Flora Park in Polokwane.
The pastor said his son had left church practice on Saturday and never came back.
"We left for church on Sunday and left the house unlocked, thinking he will come home. However, I was suspicious because he always texted or called to inform us what time he will be coming back home. After the church service he was still nowhere to be found," the father said.
He said he ultimately found his son dead at Polokwane Provincial Hospital after a long search on Sunday.
"The information I have gathered through asking local people is that a group of boys appeared and a brawl ensued. At this stage I don't know the cause of the brawl," he said.
He said Themane had sustained head, chest and knee injuries.
Police spokesperson Col Moatshe Ngoepe said the motive behind the attack was unknown but that gangsterism could not be ruled out.
Ngoepe said police were investigating a case of murder and more arrests were expected.
Limpopo education spokesperson Sam Makondo said a psychosocial team has been dispatched to the school to provide the necessary counselling so that proper focus returns to teaching and learning while the law takes its course on the matter.