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A Mpumalanga man was sentenced to life imprisonment for fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend’s 2-year-old nephew in 2020. The Mpumalanga High Court convicted 44-year-old Vincent Chunky Phahlane of murder, attempted murder, firearm theft and possession, and discharging a gun in public.
On November 30, 2020, Phahlane stole his father’s gun and went looking for his ex at a Vaalbank school where she worked. After she refused to come outside, he fired random shots at the school.
Phahlane then proceeded to another ex-girlfriend’s Vaalbank residence. He claimed to her aunt he was searching for the woman’s child before senselessly shooting her nephew, 2-year-old Akanyang Maite, dead. The aunt was also shot in the jaw but survived.
After the brazen attack, Phahlane returned the gun to his uncle and went into hiding for a month before surrendering to police in January 2021. He pled guilty to all charges in June 2023.
For Akanyang’s murder, Phahlane received a life sentence. He also got 8 years for attempted murder, 7 years each for theft and firearm possession, and 3 years for ammo possession. The sentences will run concurrently.
The horrific murder of the helpless toddler shocked the community. Prosecutor Mampho Mokgue said the heavy sentence provides some closure.
“Violence against women and children continues unabated. We hope this sentence will deter would-be offenders,” Mokgue stated.
By imposing life behind bars, the court sent a stern message about protecting the innocent. While justice is served, Akanyang’s family will carry grief forever. Officials continue pushing for tougher action on crimes against South Africa’s vulnerable.