A Mpumalanga man who shot and killed a two-year-old boy has been sentenced to life imprisonment by the Mpumalanga High Court, sitting in Middelburg.
Vincent Chunky Phahlane, 44, was convicted of murder, attempted murder, theft of a firearm, possession of an unlicensed firearm with ammunition, and discharging a firearm in a public area.
Phahlane fatally shot two-year-old Akanyang Maite from Vaalbank in 2020.
The court heard that on Nov. 30, 2020, Phahlane stole his father’s firearm and initially went looking for his ex-girlfriend at a school where she worked in Vaalbank. After calling her and asking her to come outside — to which she refused — he randomly fired shots at the school.
He then left for the residence of another ex-girlfriend in Vaalbank. Upon meeting the woman’s aunt, he claimed he was looking for his ex-girlfriend's child. During this encounter, he shot little Akanyang, the ex-girlfriend’s nephew. The screaming aunt was also shot by Phahlane, sustaining a gunshot wound to the jaw but survived the incident.
On the day of the shooting, Phahlane took the firearm to his uncle, requesting it be returned to his father. He went into hiding for a month before handing himself over to police on Jan. 7, 2021.
On June 5, 2023, Phahlane pleaded guilty.
The court sentenced Phahlane to life imprisonment for murder, eight years' imprisonment for attempted murder, and seven years' imprisonment each for theft, possession of a firearm, and three years for possession of ammunition.
The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently with the murder sentence.
Phahlane was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.