Durban - Thabiso Makhoba should have been celebrating his birthday today. Instead his mother is preparing to bury him.

His murder has left Nonhlanhla Makhoba heartbroken and grieving.

She said this week that the alleged killer, her boyfriend, had treated Thabiso as if he were his own child, taking him to school and bathing him.

She said she had received a phone call from her boyfriend after a heated argument, allegedly telling her that he had killed her 6-year-old son.

“I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it,” she said.

A police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, confirmed the death of the boy, saying that the boyfriend had been charged with kidnapping and murder.

The man, who handed himself over to the Empangeni police station on Wednesday, appeared at the eSikhawini Magistrate’s Court on Friday, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Recalling the events before the murder of her son, Makhoba said her boyfriend had moved out of their home in eSikhawini last week after an argument.

Two days later, her son had disappeared. “That’s when he started calling me, saying I should start mourning because he had killed my child.”

With the help of community members and the police, the body of a child was found in the bush. It is thought that the boy was strangled to death.

The KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, condemned the killing. “This is not acceptable in our society, where children are killed because of an argument between the parents,” she said. “We appeal to the community to solve their differences without involving the children.”

Independent on Saturday