A 20-year-old matriculant from Hammarsdale, who was on holiday in Estcourt was, according to a witness, struck in the back by a buffalo before the animal trampled him to death. Picture: Archive
While most matriculants will be waiting for their grade 12 results this week, Sphamandla Sokhela, a pupil at Sibukosezwe high School in Hammarsdale, will not be among them.

The 20-year-old matriculant from KwaZulu-Natal was trampled to death by a buffalo that had allegedly escaped from a nearby reserve, while Sokhela was on holiday with his family in Estcourt more than a week ago. He was laid to rest this past weekend.  

His brother Sthembiso Sokhela said they would urge the police to investigate carefully how Sphamandla came to be trampled by the buffalo.

He said they had heard during his brother’s funeral that the buffalo had not just escaped the reserve on that day but had allegedly been terrorising the community for some time.

On the day of the incident, he said Sphamandla and another boy had gone to collect cattle on grazing land when their dogs startled the buffalo in the bushes. It fled towards a nearby dam but then charged back and hit Sphamandla from behind, trampling on him and killing him.

“He died at the scene. The emergency services could not get close to him because the buffalo was still there. It took the police and the dogs to chase it away,” he said.

SAPS spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Zwane said an inquest docket was opened at Estcourt police station after a 20-year-old man was allegedly killed by a buffalo at Ntunda area, Estcourt.