Fatal festive season for teens in South Africa

Published Dec 27, 2022


Johannesburg - South African teenage carnage is hitting an alarming rate as this festive season has claimed more teen lives.

This was demonstrated by the visit on Tuesday by Joe Gqabi, District Commissioner Major General Lindelwa Vellem, and members of SAPS management to the family of a murdered 16-year-old girl. According to a SAPS statement, the teen leaves behind a one-year-old baby, who is also the suspect's child.

This follows the alleged racist assault on two teenage boys at a Bloemfontein resort.

According to SAPS, the only charges that could be registered were common assault and crimen injuria.

"We want to put it on record that the police never downgraded any crime but worked and were informed by the first statement, as obtained from the complainant. That was not the end of our investigation, hence, the investigator continued to obtain more statements before the docket can be placed before the senior state prosecutor to give further directives, as the one having such muscles to decide if, after obtaining these additional statements, a charge can be changed," read a SAPS statement.

The statement went on to say that after obtaining statements, the docket was presented to the senior state prosecutor, who directed that an attempted murder charge be pursued.

"The approach of the investigator, in this regard, as it’s the mandate of the police, was to investigate in order to arrest and not to arrest and investigate thereafter. The docket was received back from the senior state prosecutor with clear directives; the investigator is now working on these directives, and we anticipate that the perpetrator or perpetrators will within no time be brought before a court of law to account on this incident," added SAPS.

Meanwhile, two brothers, ages 16 and 19, were arrested in the Tubatse area of Burgersfort, Limpopo, for the fatal stabbing of an 18-year-old man next to the local pub in Praktiseer in the early hours of December 26, 2022.

"The police received a call from a community member about the body of an unknown man lying next to Mama She Is Pub in Praktiseer. On arrival at the scene, the members found the body of a man with stab wounds.

"The local standby detectives took over the docket, and within hours, they managed to trace and apprehend the suspects at about 10.50," said SAPS.

The deceased was later identified as 18-year-old Thabo Mokwena of Shushumela, Praktiseer.

On Christmas Day in the Eastern Cape, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) in Gqeberha duty crew received reports of a teenager being swept over the sea wall while swimming in large waves at Seaview Resort's tidal pool, Beach View, during the spring high tide.

"The NSRI Gqeberha rescue vehicle towing the NSRI rescue craft Rescue 6 Bravo was dispatched while NSRI rescue swimmers, Coastal Water Rescue, the SA Police Services, and the EC Government Health EMS responded," said an NSRI statement.

NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) contacted the Transnet National Ports Authority, who broadcast an alert for vessels that were in the area to keep a lookout, and a number of Chokka fishing vessels close inshore near the area kept a watch.

"On arrival on the scene, an extensive search commenced for a 14-year-old male from Zimbabwe, who had been swept over the tidal pool wall while swimming in the tidal pool. Despite the extensive search, there remains no sign of the teenager. Police divers are continuing in an ongoing search.

"Our thoughts are with the family of the missing teenager in this difficult time," said the NSRI.

The Star