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Johannesburg - She sat on the court bench, her face in her hands and staring at the floor, the police officer mother of the teenager accused of shooting a fellow school pupil cut a lonely figure.
Not far from her sat the family of Nkululeko Ndlovu, the boy her son is alleged to have shot dead at school with her service pistol. They also seemed in pain as they sat on the benches, eyes fixed on the dock.
Just as quickly as she had sat down, the woman got up, left the courtroom and later arrived with some relatives. They all sat at the back of the court.
Later, a court orderly brought in four handcuffed suspects and among them was her 18-year-old son – who the court has ordered not be identified – still in his blue and grey school uniform.
The orderly led them down to the cells.
When her son was called into the dock, he took off the school shirt and the handcuffs were also removed.
Because of the nature of her job, which took her as far as KwaZulu-Natal, her son had been staying with a grandmother in Limpopo.
However, after settling at the Vosloorus police station, where she worked as a constable, she had immediately sent for him and he started attending Phineas Xulu Secondary School in July last year.
Unbeknown to the mother, her son was allegedly bullied and called names because of his dark complexion and the fact that he was Tsonga.
On Monday, he allegedly arrived home crying, and with his shirt, school tie and shoes missing.
He told his mother that a group of boys had been chasing him and pelting him with stones.
On Tuesday morning, the teenager allegedly stole his mother’s gun from a safe and took it with him to school, where he shot Ndlovu in the head once.
As the teenager stood in the dock at the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, his mother stared at him intently, while Ndlovu’s tearful cousin Thembani laid her head on her aunt’s shoulder. The teenager requested a Tsonga interpreter because the court had arranged an isiZulu interpreter.
The prosecutor, Vutlhari Mulungwa, said the teenager was facing a count of murder, theft and the possession of an unlicensed firearm.
She said that statements from witnesses were still outstanding and that the prosecution had not been able to obtain them because the witnesses were still traumatised by the incident.
The matter was postponed to Thursday for a bail application.