‘Sithole murder not linked to xenophobic attacks’

Johannesburg – Emmanuel Sithole’s death was not related to xenophobic attacks, a court was told on Friday. The murdered Mozambican vendor’s killers appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday for sentencing. Mthinta Bhengu and Sifundi Mzimzela were convicted in November last year of murdering the vendor in April of the same year.

The investigating officer said although the attack happened during the xenophobic violence, the two were not related. “The probation officer said that Bhengu showed remorse for his actions and that he believed he could be rehabilitated,” SABC News tweeted.

The investigating officer said the attack was not related to xenophobia, even though it happened during xenophobic violence. Mzimzela’s mother gave evidence on behalf of her son.

She said Mzimzela grew up poor in Nkandla and lost a father when he was 4 months old. He dropped out of school when he was in Grade 9 because she couldn’t afford to keep him there.

The SABC reported that Mzimzela’s mother had asked the Sithole family for forgiveness for what her son had done and said that he had also asked for forgiveness.

“My son grew up struggling because I made little money. We both stayed in a rented shack,” she said, according to ANN7. Mamosebetsi Mofokeng, Sithole’s stepmother said she wanted a harsh sentence for her stepson’s killer.

She said Sithole had three children who were now without a father. The court said that although the murders weren’t premeditated, it “certainly didn’t happen on the spur of the moment”.

The State requested that Bhengu get a minimum of 15 years and Mzimzela between eight and 10 years behind bars. Sithole was stabbed to death during a wave of xenophobic violence in Alexandra in April 2015.

It was believed that the men took cigarettes from the street vendor without paying and attacked and killed him when he demanded payment. Sentencing will continue today. – Sapa

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