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R75 000 for a boy’s life

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Copy of farm killing

INLSA

Alizira Mpangeni's son Gift was shot in the back of the head and killed by Limpopo farmer Piet Swart in October last year. Photo: Moloko Moloto

Limpopo - A Limpopo farmer has paid a family R75 000 after fatally shooting 14-year-old Gift Mpangeni in the back of the head – but Gift’s mother has vowed not to touch the cash.

Instead, Alizira Mpangeni wants Piet Swart to go to prison.

“I want him to go to jail for the rest of his life,” she said.

Last October, Swart fired shots when Gift and his friends were fishing in Swart’s dam without permission.

Lucky Zitha, one of Gift’s friends, was also hit in the hand.

Swart was initially charged with murder, but the Groblersdal Regional Court gave him a five-year suspended sentence last week, and ordered him to pay R75 000 to Gift’s family and R25 000 to Lucky’s family.

Swart was sentenced after the prosecution team changed the charge of murder to that of culpable homicide.

The court found that Swart had not intended to kill Gift as he and his friends had tried to flee.

Gift and his pals, who lived on a farm neighbouring Swart’s, were fishing when Swart opened fire.

According to Limpopo police spokeswoman Lieutenant-Colonel Ronel Otto, Swart fired a single shot, and a shotgun pellet hit Gift in the back of the head. Another pellet hit Lucky.

Alizira Mpangeni said: “Even today I still don’t understand why he had to shoot at the boys.

“He did not even bother to come to us and apologise, and I don’t think I will forgive him if he were to apologise now.”

Mpangeni, with the help of Cosatu, is to appeal against the sentence.

Speaking to The Star, Mpangeni said the family had got to know about the fine only when police had asked for their banking details.

But the spokesman for the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, North Gauteng, Medupe Simasiku, denied this claim, saying that the families had been consulted.

Simasiku pointed out that the prosecution could not prove that Swart had intended to kill Gift.

“Remember that for a case to be presented as that of murder, one of the elements we need to prove is intention,” said Simasiku.

“Unfortunately and sadly, a person [Gift] died as a result of a pellet, not live ammunition as a ballistic report [showed].”

On Monday, Mpangeni broke down and cried – twice – as she recounted her son’s endearing qualities.

“He liked to sing so much. Every day when he returned from school he would first wash the dishes before going out to play. He never complained. It’s hurting so much and it’s going to take me time to forget him.”

 

Cosatu’s provincial secretary, Dan Sebabi, confirmed that the union federation would help the family to appeal the court judgment and sentence.

Sebabi said: “You know the rich will always take advantage of the poor. We can’t let people kill others like flies.”

Lucky, who showed how the palm of his left hand still has scars from the shooting, said Gift had collapsed and died on the spot, but he and the two other friends had run away.

Lucky said the other boys had subsequently gone back home to Mozambique.

Swart was charged with attempted murder for Lucky’s injury, but the prosecution changed it to assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Swart pleaded guilty to the culpable homicide and the assault charges.

moloko.moloto@inl.co.za

The Star


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