Judge Neil Tuchten, sitting in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, this week convicted William Tjiane of culpable homicide following the death of little Tebetso Phahle.
The judge explained his verdict by telling Tjiane that culpable homicide was the negligent killing of a human.
He said Tjiane should have appreciated that the assault he had inflicted on the child, could have led to his death.
He found that Tjiane had lost his temper with the boy and gave him a severe beating.
Tjiane is due to hear his fate on Monday, with the State calling for an effective jail sentence of 12 years' imprisonment.
Prosecutor Salome Scheepers argued that Tjiane hadn't shown any remorse and he did not seem to have any insight into what he had done. “There is thus not much hope for his rehabilitation,” she said.
Judge Tuchten replied that Tjiane definitely needed to be jailed for a substantial period. He further remarked: “I am thinking of another case in this court, that was eventually decided on by the appeal court, where the young man, a very good runner, had a moment of utter rage which affected his whole, decent life. Is that not what happened in this case?” the judge asked.
He pointed out that Tjiane, a cleaner at a restaurant, tried to take care of his family, which included Tebetso, who was the child of his girlfriend.
The judge said it was a pity that Tjiane was not man enough to face-up to what he did to the boy.
Little Tebetso was a happy boy when his mother left him in the care of her boyfriend, who was supposed to later take him to creche.
But when she returned later that day from a job interview, her child was dying.
Tijane denied that he had assaulted the child on the morning of August 3, 2010. But according to medical evidence Tebetso had three head injuries, including a severe brain injury and bruises across his body.
The court found that Tjiane had assaulted the child, because he had soiled himself. He then left the injured child inside the house, while he left with a friend.
The child’s mother, Elizabeth Phahle, found her child naked on the bed and rushed him to hospital. He died shortly afterwards.
Tjiane had left the naked, dying child on the bed for hours, while he left the house.
The defence called for an effective five-year-jail sentence.