Mom slams son's killer

A pupil was shot and killed during a mine protest in Limpopo.
A pupil was shot and killed during a mine protest in Limpopo.
Image: FILE

The mother of a 17-year-old Limpopo pupil who was shot and killed, allegedly by a mine security guard, during a protest wants to meet her son's killer.

In the same breath, grade 11 pupil Botshelo Petja's mother Magdeline Petja, 41, wants his alleged killer to rot in jail.

Botshelo, a pupil at Kgapatlou High School in Sefalaole village, Ga-Mphahlele, was shot allegedly with live ammunition when the community protested on Thursday against a local chrome mine in the area which they accuse of illegal mining.

"He must go and die in jail but first I want to see him. He must tell me why he brutally killed my son. I was expecting a lot from my son. His dream of becoming a medical doctor has now become naught because of a cruel person," Petja said.

"I wish justice to take its course because I will never see my son again." Petja said.

Petja, a security guard at another mine in the area, was at work when her son was shot, 6km away from where she works. Petja described her son as caring and disciplined.

"He didn't like going out and had few friends. I had never heard someone complaining about my son's behaviour. He didn't deserve to die like this."

The distraught mother said she got a call from her brother who informed her about the incident. "I didn't get to the scene, I was at work. I'm told my son died upon arrival at the hospital," she said.

Police spokesperson Col Moatshe Ngoepe said a 36-year-old man was arrested and appeared in court on Friday.

"The arrested suspect in this matter, Dennis Mashele who is the security officer at Dithabaneng Mine, has briefly appeared before the Lebowakgomo magistrate's court for murder and his case was postponed to Monday [today] for a bail application and for further police investigations," he said.

Ngoepe said initial investigations revealed that the deceased was shot during a protest action near the mine.

Botshelo's uncle Penebetse Petja, 44, told Sowetan that when he arrived at the scene, he found his nephew lying in a pool of blood. "I didn't waste time and rushed him to the local hospital," Ngoepe said.

The uncle said the suspect was arrested after he allegedly tried to run away.

"I got the information that they were escaping to Gauteng and driving in a minibus. After I spotted the minibus at Roetdan 60km away from GaMphahlele, I then called the police and we found 25 security guards running away," he said.

Botshelo will be buried on Saturday.

Community leader Percy Mathabatha said they blocked roads to prevent mining trucks from gaining access because of unresolved issues.

"We have been engaging in a protracted fight with the mine management because their mining activity doesn't benefit the community and is unlawful. On Thursday, the community blockaded all the roads leading to the mine and security guards opened fire on unarmed people killing the poor child," Mathabatha said.

He warned that there will be no peace in the area until the government intervenes.

Executive chairperson of Dithabeng Resources Glady Reuben said the teenager was shot 6km from the mine. "I don't know what happened but what I heard is that the child was shot outside the mine. My legal team will be releasing a statement on Monday [today]. That is all I can say for now."

Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.