Ex-boyfriend gets life for shooting two-year-old

The hefty sentence was passed on Thursday after the accused shot his ex's two-year-old boy in Vaalbank.

A life sentence has been imposed upon Vincent Chunky Phahlane (44) by the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court in Middelburg on 18 January, after Phahlane fatally shot a two-year-old boy, named Akanyang Maite from Vaalbank in 2020.

The court heard that on 30 November 2020 the accused stole his father’s firearm and initially went to look for his ex-girlfriend at a certain school where she was reportedly working in Vaalbank. He called her on the mobile phone, asking her to come out but when she refused, the accused randomly fired some shots in the school premises.

Thereafter, the accused is said to have left and went to the residence of his other ex-girlfriend in Vaalbank.

Upon arrival, he found his ex-girlfriend’s aunt and informed her that he was looking for his ex’s child.

It was during this time when he sadly shot and killed the little boy. Out of panic, the aunt screamed and Phahlane is said to have shot her in the jaw but she fortunately survived.

After this shooting, the accused fled and the next day, he took the firearm to his uncle and requested him to hand it over to his father before he went into hiding.

The accused is said to have disappeared for more than a month but later handed himself over to the Police at Vaalbank Police Station on 07 January 2021.

Phahlane was arrested and charged for murder, attempted murder, theft of firearm, possession of unlicensed firearm with ammunition, and for discharging a firearm in a public area.

The accused was kept in custody for about three months then he was granted bail in April 2021.

On 05 June 2023, the accused pleaded guilty to the charges and as a result, he was taken back to custody after the court withdrew his bail. He was in custody until the day his fate was decided by the court.

The sentencing of the accused was handed down as follows:

On a count of murder, he was sentenced to life imprisonment and on a count of attempted murder, the accused was sentenced to eight years imprisonment whilst on the count of theft, the accused was sentenced to seven years imprisonment. Meanwhile on the count of discharging a firearm in a public area, the accused was sentenced to seven years imprisonment.

On the count of unlawful possession of a firearm, the accused was sentenced to seven years imprisonment whereas on the count of unlawful possession of ammunition, the accused was sentenced to three years imprisonment.

The court ordered that all other counts run concurrently with the count of murder, of which a life sentence was imposed upon the accused.

Lastly, the accused was declared unfit to possess a firearm.

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