On Tuesday, a dramatic scene unfolded in the Bulawayo Magistrates Court when a man confessed that he fears his 26-year-old son more than a lion. The son, Themba Mathe from Tsholotsho, pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder, revealing a horrifying incident where he tried to burn his father alive.
In bizarre events, Themba blamed his actions on “evil spirits” as he detailed the chilling account before Magistrate Collet Dube.
The court heard that on the night of October 9, 2023, after 11 PM, Themba went to his parents’ bedroom hut and secured the door with a wire from outside. He then set the thatch roof ablaze, fully aware that his parents were inside, fast asleep.
Bhithi Mathe, Themba’s father and stepmother, Siphiwe Ndlovu, awoke to a horrifying sight – their house engulfed in smoke and flames. They managed to force the door open, narrowly escaping without physical injuries or burns.
Once outside, they raised the alarm, alerting neighbours who attempted to extinguish the fire but were unsuccessful. Tragically, all the property inside the house was destroyed.
Son tries to burn father to death-Image Source@X
Themba was apprehended by his parents and neighbours, who traced his footsteps from the door to the hiding spot in the nearby bushes.
Arsonist Son pleads Guilty in Court
Addressing the Tredgold Magistrate Courts, Themba pleaded guilty to both counts, offering a shocking defence. He claimed revenge as the motive, asserting that his parents did not love him and had denied him necessities, leading to his expulsion from home. Additionally, he suggested that “evil spirits” might have influenced his actions, expressing remorse for the gravity of his deeds.
Bhithi Mathe, taking the stand as the State’s key witness, expressed deep fear of his son. He implored the court to impose a lengthy custodial sentence, emphasizing the loss of property valued at US$600 and the emotional trauma inflicted upon him and his wife. He vehemently denied Themba’s allegations of being driven away from home, attributing Themba’s situation to his mischievous behaviour that had previously caused trouble within the community.
Themba Mathe awaits sentencing scheduled for Wednesday, leaving the court to grapple with the complexities of familial discord and the disturbing events that unfolded on that fateful night.