Court hears of attack leading to Sithole death

2015-06-30 18:36


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Johannesburg - Mozambican Emmanuel Sithole had a beer poured on him prior to the attack that led to his death in April this year, the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court heard on Tuesday.

State witness Fabian Gomes, a street vendor like Sithole who sold vegetables from a table to the back of Sithole's, told the court he sells his vegetables on 2nd Avenue.

Prosecutor Jacob Tloubatla asked Gomes: "Can you tell the court what happened on the 18th of April while you were selling vegetables?"

Gomes, speaking in Mozambican Shangaan through a translator, replied: "Yes I can. These people, there were four when they arrived and they came from one direction singing your worship."

During his repsonse, he pointed to the four accused, Mthinta Bhengu, Sizwe Mngomezulu, Sifundi Mzimzela and the 17-year-old minor who alleged stabbed Sithole in the streets of Alexandra on April 18.

"When they arrived, one of the accused your worship, as they were standing in front of Emmanuel's table, took a packet of cigarettes."

Asked by magistrate Lucas van der Schyff who took the cigarettes, Gomes said it was accused number two, the 17-year-old minor, who took them without paying for them.

They then moved away from the table and Sithole, after realising that the cigarettes had been taken, followed the four of them and told the 17-year-old minor to give the cigarettes back.

"As the deceased followed them to ask them to bring back the cigarettes, they walked and stood in front of another street vendor, and then one of the accused was holding a bottle of beer and he poured the bottle of beer onto the deceased's [Sithole's] head," Gomes told the court.

The one with the bottle was Mngomezulu.

"As he was pouring the beer on top of his head, he bent as the beer was wetting his clothes. As he was bending, he [Mngomezulu] hit him with the bottle," Gomes said, using his hands as he spoke.

"When he had been beaten by the bottle, he reversed a little bit and prepared to run away. One of the accused, the one who was holding a monkey wrench [Mzimela] hit him on the back. After being beaten by the monkey wrench, he ran. As he [Sithole] was running, they followed him and he fell."

Gomes said Sithole ran for about 45m before he fell. The court heard that, after a long pause from Gomes, that Bhengu was holding a knife. Tloubatla indicated that he wanted to show Gomes pictures taken by a newspaper photographer of the attack to assist with identification.

Happened before pictures were taken

When he was shown one of the pictures, Gomes said what he saw, had happened before those pictures were taken.

Gomes did not see the 17-year-old minor holding anything at the time, but saw him trying to take something out. He ran, assuming he was about to produce a gun, but did not see the 17-year-old produce anything.

"I ran away from them. I was afraid to get hurt," he said.

"When the deceased fell, accused number one [Bhengu] had a knife. Accused number one wanted to stab the deceased and people around wanted to call for help."

Gomes said Bhengu attempted to stab Sithole, still on the ground, who then stood up and tried to run away and fell again.

"He tried to pick up a brick. After he picked a brick, he threw it trying to defend himself and one of the accused was hit by the brick. I cannot say who because they were together in one place but I know the brick did hit one," he said.

"After that incident, the deceased stood up and ran, and the one who was holding a knife [Bhengu] ran after him, and I saw him [reaching with] the knife. I saw him throwing out [stabbing] the knife. I don't know if the knife went into his body."

He said Bhengu was following Sithole closely, attempting to stab him.

'Stabbed in the back'

Asked how close by Van Der Schyff, Gomes stood back in the dock, indicating just over a metre.

"After stabbing him your worship in the back, accused number one [Bhengu] stopped. Then the deceased ran."

Sithole ran towards where Gomes was standing, with both men then moving towards a tent used as a salon.

"After I stopped by the salon, Emmanuel, the deceased, continued running. He ran and stopped in the middle of the street on 2nd avenue," Gomes said.

"While the deceased was standing in the middle of the road, I saw one of the accused turning behind the salon tent... one holding the knife, accused no 1 [Bhengu], then I shouted to the deceased, 'Run! Run!"

Sithole continued running in the direction of Roosevelt Street and Bhengu followed him.

"I don't know what happened by then... that was the last time I saw him."

The case was postponed to July 10.

Read more on:    emmanuel sithole  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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