Murder-accused denies assault but pictures tell different story

06 November 2015 - 09:58 By Nomahlubi Jordaan

One of the three men accused of the murder of Mozambican national Emmanuel Josias Sithole‚ denied assaulting him‚ despite photographs implying the opposite. Sithole was killed on April 18 this year after demanding money from the accused‚ who had taken cigarettes and sweets from his stall without paying.The attack‚ which happened during a flare-up of xenophobic violence in Johannesburg's Alexandra township‚ was captured by Sunday Times lensman James Oatway and the pictures published in the paper.Mhinto Bhengu‚ 22‚ Sizwe Mngomezulu‚ 20‚ Sifundo Mzimela‚ 21‚ and a minor all pleaded not guilty in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court to robbing and murdering Sithole.Magistrate Lucas van der Schyff on Wednesday discharged Mngomezulu‚ finding that he was a mere bystander and did not take part in the attack on Sithole.Mzimela on Thursday told the court that he could not recall most of the events that took place on the day of the incident because he was drunk.He said he remembered seeing Sithole throttling Bhengu.“I saw my friend dying‚” he said.Van der Schyff asked him how it was possible that Sithole could kill Bhengu when he was not carrying a weapon and Bhengu carried a knife.Mzimela said he did not see a knife in Bhengu’s hand.According to photographs of the incident and witnesses’ accounts‚ Mzimela was carrying a monkey wrench and he used it to hit Sithole.Mzimela said he only scared Sithole off with the wrench and did not use it to assault him.“If I wanted to assault him‚ I would have done so‚” he said.In one of the photographs‚ Sithole can be seen lying on the ground with Mzimela standing over him‚ raising the hand carrying the monkey wrench over Sithole as if he was about to hit him.“I never touched the deceased‚” Mzimela said.After the defence closed its case‚ Van der Schyff asked the state to call Sithole’s uncle James Mashaba‚ who had identified his body at the mortuary‚ as a witness.He said he wanted to make sure that the person on the photographs was the same person Mashaba had identified.Mashaba confirmed to the court that he had seen Sithole’s body at Germiston mortuary.He‚ however‚ said that he only saw Sithole's face as his body was covered.The trial continues. - TMG Courts and Law..

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