One of the men suspected of kidnapping and killing 16-year-old Andile “Bobo” Mbuthu is the older cousin of the teenager, City Press has confirmed.
The South African Police Service will charge seven suspects for the kidnapping and murder of Mbuthu on Monday.
Six suspects were arrested on Friday and the seventh on Saturday.
“A seventh suspect was taken into custody by detectives. They will be charged with kidnapping as well as murder and are expected to appear in the Verulam Magistrates’ court tomorrow,” said KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson, Brigadier Jay Naicker on Sunday.
The child’s remains are thought to be those found on Friday inside a bag weighted with bricks and dumped in the Wewe River on the outskirts of Tongaat.
The crime is alleged to have taken place at the well-known Magagula Lounge in Hambanathi.
On Friday night, a candlelight protest took place outside the tavern, but it eventually escalated into lawlessness with the premises being torched.
The Public Order Policing Unit was called in to respond, while fire trucks responding to the scene were stoned before the crowd of about 500 was eventually dispersed.
Andile’s aunt, Zodwa Jali, told City Press the family would need to sit and discuss who would attend the court hearing.
“We will talk as a family. At the moment we are all very depressed from what has happened. It is still a shock,” said Jail.
She said the family was unable to make any funeral arrangements until DNA testing on the body was completed, and police had released the corpse.
Jali confirmed that one suspect, who runs a taxi business and is known to City Press, is related to Mbuthu, adding he was “much older than Andile”.
“[The suspect’s] mother and family were here yesterday [at the Mbuthu family home]. I didn’t manage to speak to her, but they were here,” said Jali.
The grade 12 pupil from Nkosibomvu Secondary School in Hambanathi had been missing for about two weeks.
Local ward councillor, Zanele Khumalo said the community wanted to attend the court proceedings despite the country being in a stage four lockdown to manage the Covid-19 coronavirus.
“I have heard that they are not worried about the limit of people inside the court. They have said they will wear masks,” said Khumalo.
Mbuthu caught the attention of the country after a video surfaced on social media of him lying on a tiled floor, covered in blood, and appearing semi-conscious.
In the video, the child seems to have massive bruising on his face and lip, with his jaw appearing broken.
The man filming the clip is seen kicking the teenager and prodding him with a stick. A male voice can be heard telling Mbuthu in isiZulu to get up and clean his mess. He also swears at the child.
Mbuthu, weak and unable to speak, mumbles a reply, pushes his back against a wall and then flops back onto his stomach on the ground.
According to Naicker, prior to the body being found on Friday morning, the police’s provincial commissioner’s office received a complaint from the family that the investigation into the disappearance was not being conducted swiftly.
The provincial commissioner instructed the deputy provincial commissioner of detective services to take over the investigation.
City Press understands that there has been an accusation by the Hambanathi community that the Tongaat Police Station was protecting the suspects due to their connections to the taxi industry.
A source close to the investigation told City Press that it appeared the child’s body had been burnt prior to being dumped.
Get in touch
|Rise above the clutter | Choose your news | City Press in your inbox|
|City Press is an agenda-setting South African news brand that publishes across platforms. Its flagship print edition is distributed on a Sunday.|