As the four men accused of killing the Mozambican national Emmanuel Sithole in Johannesburg’s Alexandra township on Saturday appeared in court on Tuesday, there was heavy police presence as there has been a lot of public outcry following the pictures of the incident, which were published by the Sunday Times. It was ruled that the four will be held in custody until May 4 when their bail application will be heard.
The latest wave of xenophobic unrests started in KwaZulu-Natal, ostensibly after anti-foreigner comments made by Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, a claim which he has vehemently denied and counter accused the media for distorting his speech and fanning violence. These attacks on foreign nationals resulted in the deaths of at least five people Durban and spread to Johannesburg where some foreign nationals where attacked, with some losses at business and personal levels, particularly in Jeppestown and Alexandra. It is at the height of these attacks on ‘people from outside’ that Sithole seems to have been caught in the ‘excitement’ of moment. The attack on him apparently started when he was selling sweets and cigarettes and some men came and took some his wares without paying. When he tried to ask for his payment that is when the rogues fell upon him, one with a wrench while another brandished a butcher’s knife. He was hit on the head and stabbed in the chest, a wound to which he eventually succumbed later on in the day.
Immediately after the photos of Sithole’s murder were published, the police immediately offered a reward of R100 000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators. The community were up to the task and provided information that helped the police to quickly apprehend the suspects. However, only three were arrested on Sunday while the fourth was nabbed on Monday. The four were remanded in custody to the 4th of May when their bail application will be heard.