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Man says he fears son more than a lion after he tries to kill him in fire


A man told a court on Tuesday that he fears his 26-year-old son more than a lion after escaping the latter’s attempt to burn him and his wife alive.

Themba Mathe, of Tsholotsho, pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder at the Bulawayo Magistrates Court, blaming “evil spirits” for his actions.

The court heard that on October 9, 2023, just after 11PM, Mathe went to his parents’ bedroom hut and tied the door from outside with a wire. He proceeded to set the thatch roof on fire fully knowing that his parents were sleeping inside.

His father, Bhithi Mathe and stepmother Siphiwe Ndlovu woke up to find the house engulfed in smoke and flames. They managed to force the door open and escaped without any physical injuries or burns.
Once outside, they alerted neighbours who tried to put out the fire but could not contain it. All the property inside was destroyed.

Themba was apprehended when his parents and neighbours tracked his footsteps from the door to the bush where he was hiding.

Taking the stand at Tredgold Magistrate Courts, Themba pleaded guilty to all counts before magistrate Collet Dube. In his defence, he said he was acting in revenge as his father does not love him.

“I admit to these two counts of attempted murder. I acted in the way I did for two reasons, firstly it was out of revenge because my parents don’t love me, they don’t take me as their own son and deny me food. They had chased me away from home and I was now staying with my grandfather Pharaoh Mathe of the same village,” he said.

“Secondly, I don’t know what got over me. I suspect it could have been evil spirits behind my actions. I am really sorry for what I did.”

His father, as the State’s key witness, said he was terrified of his son, asking the court to send him to jail for a long time so that he learns valuable life lessons behind bars.

“I’ve never been so scared in my life. I stared death face-to-face and lost all my property valued at US$600. I’m more scared of my son than I am of a lion! As I stand here, my wife and I have nothing under our name. I now sleep in the kitchen and we have no food.

“I would love for him to be given a custodial sentence so that learns life and how to co-exist with people. He’s lying that we chased him from home. He chases himself because of his mischievous acts that once got me beaten up by people from our community.”

Mathe will be sentenced on Wednesday.


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