Need to impress his friends led to murder
A teenager who was part of a group of pupils who callously shot dead a woman in Port Elizabeth in September 2016 painted a chilling picture in court of his need to impress his friends when he committed the murder.
It was this that led former Westview Secondary School pupil Esonasipho Mrasi, 18, to take his father’s gun to school – resulting in the death of Magda van Vuuren in Adcockvale.
Mrasi – who confessed in April to pulling the trigger – testified in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday against three of his former classmates, who have all pleaded not guilty to the murder and robbery charges.
Van Vuuren, 53, was shot dead outside her mother’s Diaz Road home after a scuffle with Mrasi, who – dressed in his school uniform and wielding a semi-automatic pistol – was trying to steal her car.
Mrasi was sentenced in October to 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, 15 years for murder and 10 years for the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, as well as a R600 fine, or three months in prison, for driving without a licence and a R3,000 fine, or six months in prison, for theft.
The sentences are running concurrently.
Mrasi told the court on Wednesday: “They did not believe I could bring a firearm.
“On [a] Friday after school, we spoke about committing a robbery and hijacking a gold BMW parked at this house.
“We asked each other where to find a gun. I said I would bring the firearm.”
Skipping school, the pupils caught a bus to the Greenacres Shopping Centre, where they took pictures of each other holding the gun.
“We strolled around the shopping centre with the firearm hidden in the pants [of one of the other pupils].”
“[Another pupil] then took the gun and went to the toilet, where he took selfies holding the gun close to his chest.”
The four of them had then walked to Diaz Road, where they had previously seen a BMW always parked in the street.
Mrasi, accompanied by one of the pupils, walked towards the house where the vehicle was parked.
He said the two other pupils had waited at the street corner, where they had a clear view of the house.
Van Vuuren then left the house and climbed into the car.
“At that stage, the weapon was passed over to me.
“I fired a warning shot in the air. I demanded she open the door and get out,” Mrasi said.
“I then fired a second one in the right side of her body.
“I was under pressure. There was a white [VW] Polo coming.
“I quickly dragged the deceased out and climbed inside, closed the door, pulled down the handbrake and sped off.”
He drove to his three friends who had fled to a nearby street.
Magistrate Tobie Gerber asked Mrasi why he had gone ahead with the crime if his friends had already fled.
“It happened very fast. I was under pressure,” he said.
“If I had stopped, the Polo was going to chase me.”
The trial continues.