‘The law has to change’

The Hangberg community is coming to terms with the murder of a Hangberg teenager, allegedly at the hands of a 14-year-old boy.

The alleged attacker is believed to have been arrested for the attempted murder of another man last month (“Hangberg calls for help to curb drug war”, Sentinel, May 5) but was released into the custody of his aunt. This was not confirmed by Hout Bay police, but sources told the Sentinel this was the case.

At about 11pm on Saturday May 20, 18-year-old Ryno Solomons was gunned down in cold blood in Salamander Road, only metres from his home which he shared with his mother Rita and four siblings. The murder came only two weeks after car guard Deswin Brown was shot and killed in Rodevos Road.

A drug turf war has been raging on the streets of Hangberg, but according to Ms Solomons, her son’s murder was the result of a years-long feud between him and and the boy who was later arrested.

“I was at work when someone called me to tell me that my child was dead,” Mrs Solomons said.

“In 2015, he and this boy had an argument, and this boy stabbed him in his lung. After Ryno recovered, the fights started again and this time Ryno stabbed him. Both boys laid complaints with the police, but nothing happened.”

While she was not there when her son was murdered, she was told by neighbours that the killer had wounded Ryno and then proceed to fire a number of rounds into his body just outside their home.

She said she could not believe that the boy had been released into the custody of his family, after learning that he had been arrested for the attempted murder of another man, who was lucky to escape with only a head wound, last month.

“The law has to change (with regard to minors). My son’s killer must sit a long time for what he has done.”

Hout Bay police spokesperson Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch confirmed the arrest of the 14-year-old. “He is still in custody in a place of safety, waiting for his bail application on Tuesday June 6,” she said.

According to the Child Justice Act, children from 11 years of age and up to 14 years of age have criminal capacity and the onus to prove criminal capacity on the part of the child accused of having committed a crime rests with the State. Children above 14 years of age have criminal capacity unless otherwise proven by the accused child.