Emotional scenes played out on Saturday in Thoriso Themane’s home town of Polokwane at his funeral service where mourners came to pay their final respects.
Mourners in attendance included family, friends, numerous supporters and politicians including Police Minister Bheki Cele and Premier Stanley Mathabatha.
The Jack Botes Hall was filled to the rafters.
Cele was given the opportunity to speak, and told the audience he admired the humble attitude and strength of Themane’s father. He expressed concern about the rate of crime in Limpopo and undertook that justice would be served in Themane’s case.
The minister revealed that he had made a request to the National Prosecution Authority and government’s justice, crime prevention and security cluster for “special punishment” to be ensured for the teenagers who allegedly killed Themane.
He spoke about the teenage boy who took to social media to boast about his father being a police officer and that he could “not be touched” and said the boy “must be touched”.
“We need to make an example out of him and send a strong message to criminals that they will not be tolerated in this country.”
Themane’s mother was inconsolable, saying that even if her son’s killers were brought to book, nothing would bring back her boy.
Themane was allegedly murdered by a group of teenagers last weekend. Nine arrests have already been effected in the case, which will be heard this week in the Polokwane Magistrates’ Court.
[WATCH] Thoriso Themane’s casket arrives at the Jack Botes Hall in Polokwane. pic.twitter.com/rcbtHohGUk
— Website Design South Africa (@WebsiteRSA) March 2, 2019
#PoliceMinistry Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele, Premier of Limpopo, Mr Stanley Mathabatha, MEC for Safety, Security and Liaison Makhurupetje, Dep Nat Comm Lt Gen Mgwenya and Prov Comm Lt Gen Ledwaba in Polokwane for funeral service of 28-year-old Thoriso Themane. SW pic.twitter.com/pFtGZ3iGA7
— SA Police Service 🇿🇦 (@SAPoliceService) March 2, 2019
According to mourners in attendance, Themane asked for a sinner’s prayer to be inscribed on his tombstone.
— Mr. Good (@Malcolm__Good) March 2, 2019
Themane, at the age of 28, was allegedly murdered by a group of pupils from Capricorn High School in Limpopo.
The case has shocked the country as videos of the murder circulated on social media, and one of the suspects boasted that his father, a policeman, would protect him.
The attack took place in Flora Park, a leafy suburb near the central business district of Polokwane, last weekend. According to the police’s information, Themane had been arguing with the group of pupils who were at the school over the weekend.
They 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 Themane was later discovered by motorists, who called the police.
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.
Five pupils between the ages of 15 and 17 years were initially arrested. One more was cuffed on Wednesday night, with another three apprehended by Friday morning.
Political parties gathered outside the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court on Thursday where the first six teenagers appeared.
The victims’s father, Mahlapahlapana, has said he regrets bringing his son into what he has described as a vicious world.
He said it was painful that he thought his son would bury him, but now he is the one who has to bury his son.
“We are pleased that you knew the Lord in your teenage years, although you had your own weaknesses. But the grace of God has undertaken for you … I will find you there,” he said, speaking to news channel eNCA.
“I’m sorry I brought you into a vicious world like this and I’m sorry about what happened to you.”
He, however, called for forgiveness for the petpetrators.