File picture: Independent Media
Cape Town - Police have arrested a man for allegedly stabbing a 12-year-old boy 33 times before robbing him of his cellphone in front of his shocked friends.

The child underwent two operations since the attack on Wednesday afternoon while he was playing soccer with his friends on a field opposite his home.

His traumatised mother, Genevieve Whitaker, 43, says she has no idea why the suspect, identified by authorities as Moain Salie, 31, targeted her son Ronan.

Speaking from a city hospital on Thursday, the mom said the operations went well.

“He is in recovery now. He was stabbed 33 times while playing soccer with his friends when the altercation happened. He has had two surgeries to repair damage to the left side of his head, shoulder and his hands,” Genevieve says emotionally.

The boy reportedly sustained nine stab wounds on one hand and seven on the other as he tried to protect himself.

Doctors have told the family that their main concern is that the tendons in the child’s hands have to be reconnected.

Police spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut, confirmed the incident and says a 31-year-old man was arrested for the incident.

“This office can confirm that a 31-year-old suspect was arrested on a charge of attempted murder and robbery following an incident in Paarl Street, Goodwood, where a 12-year-old boy was stabbed and robbed of his cellphone on Wednesday around 13:30.

“Police reacted to the incident and arrested the suspect in the vicinity.”

The accused appeared in the Goodwood Magistrate's Court on Thursday where the matter was rolled over.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Eric Ntabazalila, says the matter has been rolled to Friday for the accused to get legal representation.

“The accused is Moain Salie, 31. He is charged with attempted murder after he stabbed a 12-year-old boy. The matter has been rolled over to today for a Legal Aid lawyer to come on board."

“It is reported that a group of young boys were playing soccer and the victim was a goalkeeper."

“The accused was seen speaking to the victim before he started stabbing him. He then ran away. He was identified by friends of the victim who pointed him out,” Ntabazalila said.