AS SHE sat on the court bench, her face in her palms 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 in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday, sat the family of Nkululeko Ndlovu, the pupil her son is alleged to have shot dead at school with her service pistol. They also seemed traumatised as they sat with eyes fixed on the dock. Just as quickly as she had sat down, the woman got up, left the courtroom and later returned with relatives. They all sat at the back of the court. Later, a court orderly brought four handcuffed suspects into court. Among them was her 18-year-old son, 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 had taken off the school shirt and the handcuffs had been removed.
Because of the nature of her job, which took her as far as KwaZulu-Natal, her son had been staying with her grandmother in Limpopo.
However, after settling at Vosloorus police station where she worked as a constable, she sent for him. He started attending Phineas Xulu Secondary School in the area in July last year.
Unbeknown to the mother, her son, who can’t be identified due to a court order, 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 a group of boys had chased him and pelted 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.
As the teenager stood in the dock, his mother stared at him intently.
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 and he said he could not understand the language.
The prosecutor, Vutlhari Mulungwa, said the teenager was facing a count of murder, theft and the possession of an unlicensed firearm. Mulungwa said the teenager had taken his mother’s gun to school on Tuesday and used it to shoot another pupil after an altercation between him and the pupil.
Statements from witnesses were still outstanding, Mulungwa said. The prosecution had been unable to obtain them because the witnesses were still traumatised by the incident. The matter was postponed to November 29 for a bail application.
Outside court, Ndlovu’s cousin Smangele said the only reason she had come to court was to see the teenager. “Now that I have seen the person who did this to us, I am happy, because that’s all that I came here for,” the 29-year-old woman said.
After the court case the teenager’s family stood at the parking lot, having a discussion with the lawyer.