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2020/10/29      |  Written By:  Colonel D Mdhluli   |   Province:  Mpumalanga

NELSPRUIT - The police management has welcomed a hefty sentence which was handed down to a man who brutally murdered a two year old boy. The accused, Boy Nhleko, from Piet Retief killed the defenseless toddler for merely failing to say that nature was calling. The hefty sentence was imposed by the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court which was sitting in Breyten near Ermelo on Monday, 26 October 2020.

The Court reached its decision to punish Nhleko, aged 29, after overwhelming evidence was heard that the child was staying with Nhleko and his girlfriend, who was the boy's aunt at the time as the mother was working out of town, a long distance from home and had left him in the couple's care. The boy started living with his aunt and Nhleko in October 2019, the same month he was assaulted for about 36 hours, firstly with a waist belt, secondly with three tree branches and later with an electric cable.

Subsequently after the assault, Nhleko then boiled water and poured it in a basin where he senselessly forced the child in, resulting in the boy sustaining serious burn wounds. Instead of seeking medical care for the child, Nhleko and his lover unshamefully left the child to die whilst they enjoyed themselves at a local traditional function as well as watched movies. They then concealed their evil deeds by burying the boy in a shallow grave.

Nhleko and the boy's aunt left to the Kingdom of Eswatini where he confided to his brother that he has committed an atrocious act in South Africa explaining all the details of events. His brother in turn felt compelled to report the matter to the police and Nhleko was ultimately arrested at Mahamba border as he was coming back to South Africa, a week after the murder. During the investigating, Nhleko pointed out the place where he had buried the boy.

When handing down the judgement, Acting Judge of the High Court Takalani Vincent Ratshibvumo said that the way the murder was committed, suggests that the accused does not value the sanctity of life. The Judge explained the agony that the child went through, waiting for his death to come after 36 hours and it eventually arrived. He (the Judge) further indicated that Nhleko became impatient with the boy meanwhile he grew up doing the same things that the child did but no one murdered him. Nhleko was sentenced to life imprisonment and his defence team tried to make an application for leave to appeal but the Judge dismissed it.

The accused was also found to be unfit to possess a firearm and his name will be entered into the register of sexual offenders.

The police are elated with the collaborative effort done by the investigating team, the Prosecution as well as the Judiciary. The sentence will definitely serve as a deterrence to other would be children killers.