Kutlwano Garesape, 6, died a hero after he tried to defend his mother who was being attacked by a man who wanted to rape her. Picture: Supplied

Kimberley - The mother of slain six-year-old Kutlwano Garesape tearfully told the Northern Cape High Court on Monday that her son would have been alive today if she had let the man who tried to rape her, carry out his plans.

Tefelo Dikole was convicted of the murder of Kutlwano and the attempted rape of his mother, Evelyn Garesape, on August 12, 2016.

Evelyn on Monday told the court that she blames herself for the death of her youngest child.

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“My child died while protecting me as I fought off the accused. My child died on behalf of me, he saved my life. However, maybe if I had let the accused carry out his plans on me, my child might have been alive today,” she said.

Evelyn added that she understands that had she allowed Dikole to rape her, it would have had a traumatic effect on her two young sons.

“It was not going to be easy to allow the accused to do what he wanted to do in the presence of my two young children as they were watching.

Evelyn said that the temperament of her other son, Thabiso, who was also with her on the day of the incident and was eight years old at the time, has changed after Kutlwano’s death.

“Kutlwano and Thabiso were best friends. Thabiso keeps talking about the deceased. He even said that Kutlwano would have been in Grade 3 this year whereas he would be in Grade 4.

Segomotse Garesape File picture: Soraya Crowie/ANA

“Our son even reminded us this morning that it is Kutlwano’s birthday on June 5 (today). Thabiso’s birthday is on June 25 and he insisted on celebrating his birthday on the day of Kutlwano’s. We refused and Thabiso burst into tears.

“We have realised over the past months that Thabiso has adopted a short temper. Thabiso is an introvert and Kutlwano was the extrovert, however, we have been receiving calls from Thabiso’s school where his teachers were concerned about him. We have also seen Thabiso playing rough and fighting with other children.

“At times when we would reprimand him, he would tell us that we do not love him and we only love Kutlwano.”

Upon being asked what sentence would be appropriate for Dikole, Evelyn indicated that she wanted him removed from society.

“I do not ever want to see the accused for the rest of my life nor do I want my children to ever see him a day in their lives.

“I never imagined I’d hold a dead body the way I held my son on that day. I will never forgive the accused. I knew the accused and he knew me. I fed him and took him like a younger brother. There is currently no happiness in my home after this incident,” she cried.

Family members in the gallery burst into tears along with Evelyn when she said they have to take Thabiso to Kutlwano’s grave when he is not feeling well.

Dikole’s attorney, Pierre Fourie, submitted that his client had been convicted of a very serious offence. He said Dikole, however, never planned the attack.

“A young boy lost his life and there is nothing that can be done to bring him back. However, the initial attack was never on the deceased but rather on the mother. I submit that it was a spur of the moment offence that was committed,” said Fourie.

Tefelo Dikole was convicted of Kutlwano Garesape's murder and the attempted rape of his mother, Evelyn Garesape. File picture: Picture: Danie van der Lith/ANA

Fourie admitted that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances but argued that Dikole could still be rehabilitated.

“The psychiatric report stated that the accused suffers from a substance-induced mood disorder. He can, however, be rehabilitated. There is no evidence before court that the accused cannot be rehabilitated,” said Fourie.

The State, represented by advocate Kenny Kgatwe, said Dikole was heartless.

“The deceased was robbed of his life at a young age. The country was robbed of a citizen who might have become president.

“The post-mortem pictures show that the deceased was killed in a gruesome manner as his intestines were exposed after the accused had stabbed him. There is currently no reason or answer about what the deceased had done in order for the accused to kill him in such a brutal manner. The accused did not take the court into confidence to testify on the incident,” said Kgwate.

He requested the court to impose a maximum sentence on Dikole. “The court should impose a sentence of 10 years imprisonment for the attempted rape charge and a life sentence for the murder. Both charges should run concurrently.

“A defenceless child was killed in front of his mother and brother. The court must send a clear message that it will not accommodate such actions. The trauma suffered by the Garesape family have long-term effects on their lives. There are currently no compelling circumstances for the court to deviate from imposing a maximum sentence,” Kgwate said.

The matter was postponed for sentencing and Dikole remains in custody.

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