Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

In a verdict handed down by the Mpumalanga High Court in Middelburg, a 44-year-old man, Vincent Chunky Phahlane, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of two-year-old Akanyang Maite from Vaalbank. The court found Phahlane guilty of murder, attempted murder, theft of a firearm, possession of an unlicensed firearm with ammunition, and discharging a firearm in a public area.

The court proceedings revealed that on November 30, 2020, Phahlane stole his father’s firearm and initially sought his ex-girlfriend at a school in Vaalbank. Upon her refusal to come outside, he randomly fired shots at the school. Subsequently, he proceeded to the residence of another ex-girlfriend in Vaalbank, where he claimed to be looking for the child of his ex-girlfriend. During this encounter, he shot two-year-old Akanyang and the child’s aunt, who survived the incident with a gunshot wound to the jaw.

Following the shooting, Phahlane took the firearm to his uncle on the same day, requesting its return to his father. He went into hiding for a month before surrendering to the police on January 7, 2021. On June 5, 2023, Phahlane pleaded guilty.

The court handed down a life sentence for murder, eight years for attempted murder, and seven years each for theft, possession of a firearm, along with an additional three years for possession of ammunition. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently with the life sentence for murder, and Phahlane was declared unfit to possess a firearm.

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