The murder of a 27-year-old man, Thoriso Themane, allegedly by pupils of Capricorn High School in Limpopo, has shocked the country as videos of the murder circulated on social media, and one of the suspects boasted that his father would protect him.
Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe confirmed on Tuesday that the Polokwane police were investigating a case of murder in Flora Park, a leafy suburb near the central business district of Polokwane, over the weekend.
According to police information, the man had been arguing with a group of pupils who were at the school over the weekend.
The pupils then allegedly brutally assaulted him, throwing stones and dragging him on to a public road, while several recorded videos and cracked jokes during the assault. The bruised and bloody man was discovered by motorists who called the police.
According to police records, the attack happened on Sunday at about 9.50am.
“On arriving at the scene, police found the man lying along a street. He was taken to the hospital where he was certified dead on arrival.
“Initial investigations revealed that the victim had been assaulted by a group of people in the area and one person was taken in for questioning. The motive behind this incident is not clear at this stage, but ongoing investigations will find the exact cause.”
One Flora Park resident, who said her child was a pupil at the school, said the parents were worried that only a few of the pupils, who did not have ties with the powers that be at the local police station, were called in for questioning.
This was after it emerged that the father of one suspected killer in the group was a high-ranking police officer.
“We want all children identified to have taken part in the assault and the killing of the man to be named and shamed. Otherwise justice will not be served in this matter, because only the haves are treated with velvet gloves and the poor and the lesser known differently,” said the woman, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
Ngoepe said five pupils between the ages of 15 and 17 years were arrested and further arrests would be determined by the outcome of investigations.
Democratic Alliance (DA) provincial chairperson Jacques Smalle called on the Limpopo department of education to beef up security at the school.
“According to the reports received by the DA, the use of drugs cannot be ruled out in the boys’ wayward actions. Some of these children are seen on the video bragging about the gruesome incident. That is so heartless. The life of a person is not tantamount to that of a locust.
“It takes a lot of guts to fight a person, let alone kill them. It is therefore very important for the authorities to check all the angles and take drastic action against the offenders,” said Smalle.
The provincial department of education’s spokesperson Sam Makonde said no official statements or reports had been sent from the school, but the department had received information from the police. The department had dispatched a psychosocial team to the school to provide counselling “so the focus returns to teaching and learning while the law takes its course”.