South Africa

Man driven by divorce anger gets 20 years for burying child alive

Cape Town – Lai Phepheng buried his 5-year-old boy alive in his yard after taking him from his grandmother’s home while the mother was at work.

What had provoked him to commit this deed, because he had time to reconsider while transporting the child from his grandmother’s home in Germiston, Gauteng, to Limpopo?

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in Limpopo said in a statement the 36-year-old father from Ngwanamatle village in Jane Furse, Limpopo, was ’’very angry’’ after Thato’s mother had divorced him.

The judge sentenced Phepheng to 20 years for murder and two years for burying the 5-year-old alive in a shallow grave in 2019 and defeating the ends of justice. The sentences will run concurrently.

“Phepheng was arrested a few days later after he was confronted by the community of Ngwanamatle. He pleaded guilty to the charges and stated that he was very angry because the mother had divorced him,” NPA spokesperson Mashudu Malabi- Dzhangi said in a statement.

The prosecutor, advocate Sontaga Malefahlo, had asked the court to impose a harsh sentence on Phepheng because he killed an innocent child.

“The killing of the deceased was brutal. He knew very well that his son was a little innocent boy but he did not care about the little soul.

’’Though the accused did show remorse and pleaded guilty to the charges, the court should impose a harsh punishment on the accused because he killed the deceased for no reason.

“The killing of women and children has become a serious problem in our country and the courts must send a message that these evil actions will not go unpunished,” said Malefahlo.


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