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Pretoria - The last words her son ever spoke to her was “mommy”.

This is according to a security officer at the OR Tambo Airport, whose 3-year-old son was allegedly beaten to death by her boyfriend.

Elizabeth Phahle testified in tears how her son Tebetso later died in hospital.

His little body was covered in bruises and he had a severe brain injury.

The mother told the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, that she left her son in the care of her boyfriend, William Tjiane, on the morning of August 3, 2010, while she went for a work interview.

He was supposed to take the child to creche later that morning.

When she left, the child was fine and busy eating.

When she arrived several hours later, she found him naked on the bed.

She called out to him and he could only say “mommy”.

Phahle testified in tears how she spoke to her son before she left that morning.

“I gave him 50 cents and asked him what he was going to do with the money.

“He said he was going to buy chips at the creche.

“This was the last time I had a conversation with my son.”

She said Tjiane never phoned her during the day to tell her something was wrong with the child.

She left the house at about 6am and returned at about 2pm that day.

She found the accused and his friend called Eric outside the Mamelodi East house they shared. The friend told her the child was ill.

“I asked the accused what was wrong and he said the child battled to breathe and he gave him milk to drink," the mother testified.

“He did not tell me what had happened.”

The mother said she grabbed her child and rushed him to hospital.

She travelled by taxi, which stopped several times on the way there.

While the doctors were treating the boy, she visited a prophet she knew.

He "assured" her the child would be fine.

But the hospital later informed her the child had died.

Phahle said the boy lived with his granny and only came to stay with them a few months prior to this incident.

She testified that nothing ever happened to the child in front of her, but she did admit that the boy seemed afraid of the accused.

Tjiane said he had no idea what had happened.

According to him, the child had soiled himself that morning and he placed him in a pile of water to wash him down.

He went outside to fetch more water and when he came back, the child was lying on the ground, with water around him.

He only noticed a small bruise to his forehead, but he realised something was wrong when the child battled to breathe.

He said he put the boy on the bed and forced milk down his throat.

The child seemed better and he left him to sleep.

Tjiane said he did not know what to do and he waited for the child’s mother to come back.

Judge Neil Tuchten remarked that it seemed as if someone gave the child a severe beating, as he had bruises across his body, especially on his backside.

He questioned Tjiane about this, but the accused was adamant that he did not notice any injuries, apart from the bruised forehead.


Pretoria News