SA: Family ‘in the dark’ as Elvis Nyathi murder case delayed; Zimbabwean beaten and burnt to death

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By TimesLive

  • The family of Elvis Nyathi are worried the continuous postponements in the case involving his alleged killers could jeopardise the case. 
  • The case against the seven accused was postponed in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
  • The State said witness statements, crime scene photos and postmortem results were outstanding.

SOUTH Africa: The family of Zimbabwean national Elvis Nyathi, who was murdered earlier this year in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, say they are in the dark about the status of the police investigation into his killing.

Nyathi’s brother, Godknows Nyathi, told SowetanLIVE’s sister publication TimesLIVE the police were not updating them about the progress of the case.

“They are not communicating with us at all. They told me that because Elvis’s wife failed to come and identify the people who killed Elvis, there is nothing they can do to help us further, so I mustn’t bother to contact them,” he said.

The case was postponed at the Randburg magistrate’s court on Monday due to outstanding witness statements, crime scene photographs and the postmortem results.

It was postponed to August 24 at the request of state prosecutor Dinesh Nandkisoor.

“Also outstanding is the decision from the director of public prosecutions as to whether the matter will then be transferred for trial to the high court,” Nandkisoor told the court.

Speaking outside the court, Elvis’s cousin Mphathisi Ndlovu said he was worried about the postponement.

He echoed Godknows’ sentiments that police were not communicating with the family about the investigation.

“This case has been watched by the world. We thought that since the world was watching that would put pressure on the court to make a very serious decision,” said Ndlovu.

He said he regularly communicates with Elvis’s widow who has since moved back to Zimbabwe. They last spoke on Wednesday evening about the court case.

The family is still trying to pick up the pieces without Elvis.

Ndlovu shared that before Elvis died, he had bought a stand in Zimbabwe to build a home for his family.

“People from Zimbabwe and SA managed to donate some money and now the children have the shelter there. They have built a two-room house for them,” he said.

When asked about Elvis’s widow, Ndlovu said she was coping though the incident was a painful one, which she will never be able to forget.

“She is worried because she didn’t come to do the identification parade and it may end up allowing the perpetrators to walk free, but she is very scared to come back to SA because of the experience she suffered,” he said.

On the family’s claims that they were being neglected, Gauteng police spokesperson Col Dimakatso Sello advised the family to lodge a formal complaint with the station commander.

“If the family has any complaint about the service or the progress of their case, they are advised to lodge a formal complaint with the station commander or the Gauteng service complaints centre on 082-442-2000,” said Sello.

Seven suspects who were arrested and charged for Elvis’s murder are out on R3,000 bail.

The group made a brief appearance on Thursday.

Cedrick Raseala, 41, Baron Mashele, 31, Godfrey Mahlo, 31, Thomas Serebane, 53, Phumudzo Tshirangwana, 38, Thabo Makgatho, 32, and Puleng Chipape, 34, are charged with murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, four counts of assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, robbery with aggravating circumstances, and extortion.

They are allegedly part of a mob that came knocking on doors at different homes in Diepsloot in April, claiming they were searching for illegal foreign nationals in the township.

Knowing that his papers were not in order, Elvis allegedly tried to flee from them but was caught, beaten up and set alight outside his home.

At the time, some residents of Diepsloot had gone on the rampage and accused Zimbabwean nationals of being behind crime in the area.