Four teenagers accused of assaulting Thoriso Themane were found guilty of his murder by the Polokwane High Court in Limpopo on Wednesday.
Two other teenagers were found guilty of common assault after they submitted a plea statement admitting to slapping Themane and kicking him out of their car. They then left the scene while the group of minors continued to assault the deceased, they claimed in their plea statement, said the NPA.
Following the arguments, deputy director of public prosecutions advocate Mashudu Mudau submitted that there was evidence linking the minors to the charge of murder as they had participated from the onset and even invited the other group to join in the assault of the deceased.
According to the NPA, offender number 3 “even called the other group to come and see how the big five commits murder”.
Two adults, Chuene Maleka and Alfred Mothapo, were found guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
“The court divided the matter in stages even during the conviction. Those people who started from stage 1, assaulting the deceased, until they left him there. There are those people who came for a few minutes. Some tried to contact the police to rescue the deceased and then left the scene. This is why some of the accused were convicted with murders. There are those who uttered words like ‘Big Five’, it’s committing murder because it showed that their purpose was to kill the deceased. There were also those who said ‘homeboy, I will kill you’ as they were busy kicking him. Some even hit him with liquor bottles. This is why this matter was divided in stages,” NPA regional spokesperson Mashudu Malabi-Dzhagi told the SABC.
“As the NPA, we welcome the conviction, it’s been a long time. Now we’re going to finalise the matter on the 24th of February next year.”
Themane was assaulted at Fauna Park suburb, Polokwane, in Limpopo and later died in hospital.
According to the NPA, the minors involved in his murder had accused Themane of taking a cap that belonged to one of the young offenders.
The two adults in the case, Maleka and Mothapo, previously denied all allegations against them and said they never assaulted the deceased even though they were at the scene. They accused the minors of assaulting Themane.
Themane’s assault was recorded on a cellphone and the video was shared on social media in 2019.