Pretoria - The family of Kopano Makweng is not sure if the 16-year-old teenager will ever recover after he was assaulted by a gun-brandishing Corrie Pretorius, 52, after an argument at a shopping centre in Groblersdal, Sekhukhune, Limpopo last week.
The family have also accused the Pretorius family of displaying a “no-care” attitude toward their beaten son, saying they had made no effort to apologise.
Pretorius, who is from Marble Hall, 30km from the scene of the incident, was arrested at his home on Thursday after being caught in a video that has gone viral on social media, viciously kicking and stomping on a helpless Kopano, with a gun in his hand.
It is alleged Pretorius and his cousin were in a shop when Kopano, asked to use the same seasoning as his alleged assailant. A row ensued which was followed by the assault.
Kopano was later taken to hospital.
The incident has sparked widespread condemnation, with the family saying the teenager was going through a lot of pain, and they were worried about whether he would recover from the alleged assault. Speaking to Pretoria News at the weekend, Kopano’s mother, Julia Makweng, said he had been discharged from hospital and was on heavy medication.
“Kopano is still hurting and still injured, we are also hurt because we can see he’s going through a lot of pain and that naturally, is painful to us.
“He does not enjoy anything. We don’t even know if he will recover, especially having to see that video again when it replays on TV because it takes us back. It makes me want to cry,” said the mother.
The mom said she was worried because her son suffered from asthma, but was discharged from hospital and would have a check-up on Wednesday.
Asked how the family found out about the attack, Julia said a bloodied Kopano came home with his friends to inform them.
“He came back home with his friends all beaten up, and they told us the story that he was beaten up by a white man.
“His family has not even tried to reach out to us to ask for forgiveness or explain themselves. We call on the courts to serve justice. He must not receive bail at all. He must sit in there and reflect on what he did,” Julia said.
The National Prosecuting Authority confirmed that Pretorious was remanded in custody after appearing at the Groblersdal Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
NPA spokesperson Mashudu Malabi-Nzhangi said in a statement: “Corrie Pretorius has appeared in the Groblersdal Magistrate’s Court facing charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on a 16-year-old boy and pointing of a firearm. The matter is postponed to June 24 for bail application. The accused will remain in custody.”
According to police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo, the Pretorius family was turned away by police officers while trying to bring him a blanket on Friday.
“We (were) told that the State and the police station had enough food and blankets for him.”
Political parties and members of the public picketed outside the court on Friday in support of the victim and his family.
Sekhukhume District Municipality led the picket and a spokesperson said: “We commend the Groblersdal police for their rapid response in this matter, it shows that they work in the best interest of justice by protecting the vulnerable among our society, we also call upon our members of the community to exercise restraint and discipline in protest, we don’t want a situation where we tarnish this case.
“Let’s allow the police space to properly execute their mandate to make sure justice prevails for Kopano and his family.”
Provincial commissioner of police in Limpopo, Lieutenant-General Thembi Hadebe, condemned the incident, saying: “We will not tolerate incidents of gender-based violence and attacks on our children and we will ensure that justice prevails for the victim.
“In the meantime, we urge community members to remain calm and allow us space to deal with the matter.”