‘Just imagine killing a five-year-old’ 

“Just imagine them killing a child who is five years old!” 

These words by a grief-stricken Soshanguve resident captured the collective shock over the killing of a five-year-old, Ditebogo Junior Phalane, in the crime-ridden township on Friday night. 

“They should have just taken the car and left the child alone,” reacted a woman in a voice note shared in township community WhatsApp groups in the aftermath of the heinous crime. 

In another voice note, a crying man is heard saying: “My heart is broken. Why should they kill this vulnerable kid?” 

The murder of the five-year-old during a hijacking incident at his home has brought sharp focus on the Pretoria north township as a haven for violent crime and criminals. Police said they had now launched a manhunt for the suspected murderers. 

“Police are on the lookout for suspects who allegedly shot a five-year-old child as they were hijacking his father in Soshanguve in the evening of Friday, 10 May 2024. The child was taken to hospital, where he was certified dead on arrival.” 

“The lookout is underway for the suspects, and police have opened a case of murder and hijacking for investigation,” said Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo.  

He, however, said it was unclear at this stage how many suspects were involved in the murder and hijacking. 

“It is reported that the father was arriving home at approximately 22h30, driving a white Toyota bakkie, when the child went out to welcome him home. An unconfirmed number of armed suspects allegedly hijacked the father of his bakkie and shot the five-year-old boy who later died in hospital,” Masondo said.  

He appealed to those who might have information that could help in the investigation or assist in the apprehension of the suspects to contact the nearest police station or call Crime Stop on 08600 10111. 

Influencer Gift Makoti took to his social media account reacting in shock to the murder. 

“Soshanguve is rotten to the core!!!! Just received the most terrible news!!! My cousin was hijacked hours ago in Soshanguve block UU, they took his bakkie. He was with his son, they shot the five-year-old boy!! He didn’t make it!!” Makoti wrote on his X account. 

A voice note from a woman circulating on WhatsApp -stated that the boy’s father was -coming from Mpumalanga to check on his wife who had recently given birth.  

Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink said there was a need to take back the country from criminals. “I’m devastated by the news received this morning, that a five-year-old boy from Soshanguve was killed in a hijacking. Looking at the photo of this family. My heart goes out to them. We have to take our country back from criminals,” said Brink. 

Amidst the spiralling crime wave in the township, last month, Deputy Police Minister Cassel Mathale met with residents who complained about the escalating car hijackings, robberies and murders.  

Mathale said retired police officers were being recalled to assist in dealing with crime. 


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