Sunday proved to be a bloody affair in Sebina this week, when a family of five allegedly beat a man to death in a dispute over a phone.
The Madoda brothers: Othusitse, 24, Wabuya, 37, Albert, 32, Johson, 40, and their 28-year-old sister Chipo, appeared before Masunga Magistrates Court on Tuesday charged with murder.
The siblings are all suspected to have played a part in killing 46-year-old Sipho Mmereki.
All five were remanded in custody until the lifting of the State of Emergency.
According to Tutume Police Station Commander, Senior Superintendent Jerry Halahala, the youngest brother admitted to having a ‘misunderstanding’ with Mmereki the day before his death.
It seems Othusitse owed the other man money but when Mmereki came to collect he was unable to pay.
In his police statement, Othusitse claims Mmereki then snatched his phone and left with it.
“We heard that he reported the confrontation to his siblings who then traced Mmereki to his house armed with mophane sticks and stones,” revealed Halahala, adding that the phone does not belong to Othusitse but his sister, Chipo.
The fired-up siblings reportedly assaulted Mmereki before loading him into the boot of a Honda Fit.
They eventually handed him in to Sebina Police, who took Mmereki to the clinic where he was certified dead by the doctor.
The Station Commander further told The Voice that they did not find any mophane sticks at the crime scene.
“The only thing that we found was a knobkerrie which we suspect was used to assault the deceased,” he added.
In his bail application, a visibly shaken Othusitse pleaded for his and siblings’ freedom.
Although their plea was reserved, the youngster could inadvertently have implicated his family in the murder.
“I pray that we be allowed to wait for this case on bail because we made a mistake. What we did was not intentional,” declared Othusitse, his voice breaking with emotion.
Their bail application was, however, opposed by Investigating Officer, Detective Sergeant Ramatlalo Kaboyaone who stated that she was yet to meet with some of the possible witnesses.
“I’m afraid that once released they will interfere with other potential witnesses. This matter is of a serious nature, which if conviction is granted one can be sentenced to death,” she highlighted, a comment that caused a nervous murmur to ripple through the courtroom.
Before sending them to the slammer, presiding Magistrate Segametsi Basinyi reminded the siblings they had purposefully contravened the lockdown regulations on movement.
Basinyi expressed her concern that if granted bail, the Madodas would again fail to observe the set regulations of social distancing.
“For your safety you shall be remanded in custody until State of Emergency is lifted,” she concluded.