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Monday, April 20, 2015

Butchered in the street: Mozambican man savagely murdered in South African anti-immigrant violence

Doctors tried in vain to save Mr Sithole's life. His cause of death was later established as a direct stab wound to the heart and his identity established from a mobile phone found in his pocket
 A man who fled to South Africa in the hope of a better life has been brutally murdered by a mob who are believed to have attacked him purely because he came from Mozambique.

Shocking images capture the moment the armed gang surround Emmanuel Sithole and repeatedly stab him with knives and bludgeon him with a wrench in Alexandra township near Johannesburg.

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Sick: As Emmanuel Sithole lay injured in the gutter another thug saw what was going on and joined in the attack using a knife to stab him repeatedly while the first attacked continued to beat him with the wrench
In a chilling twist the victim was left bleeding to death in a gutter because a medical centre just 300 feet away was closed for the day because the doctor who worked there was also a foreigner and feared becoming a victim of a xenophobic attack himself.

The brutal attack was captured on camera on Saturday morning by a journalist from South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper who was in the neighbourhood to interview a number of foreign-born shopkeepers who'd had their businesses looted overnight.

But as children played in the streets and onlookers stopped to inspect the damage from the previous evening, the Mozambique-born passer-by was brutally attacked without warning by a man carrying a metal wrench.


As Mr Sithole sat injured in the gutter another thug saw what was going on and joined in the attack using a knife to stab him repeatedly while the first attacked continued to beat him with the wrench.

A third attacker - wearing a grey hoodie - then reportedly entered the fray, running over and kicking Mr Sithole in the head as he pulled out a large butcher's knife. Before he had the chance to use the knife a witness intervened and the three men fled the scene.

It was too late for Mr Sithole, however, who managed to stumble along the road pleading for help for his fatal injuries before collapsing fatally injured in a rubbish-strewn gutter.


Witnesses, including the journalist, took Mr Sithole in the back of a car to a nearby medical centre but found it was closed because the foreign-born duty doctor had failed to turn up for his shift because he feared being attacked by the xenophobic hordes rampaging through the township.

During the subsequent journey to a hospital, Mr Sithole's condition deteriorated as he screamed and winced in agony before he eventually fell unconscious.

Porters initially refused to take the man into the hospital as he appeared to be dead but, after spotting him choking he was rushed inside the building where doctors tried in vain to save his life.


The cause of death was later established as a direct stab wound to the heart and his identity established from a mobile phone found in his pocket.

Following the attack, fearful immigrants in South Africa revealed they had been targeted by longtime neighbors and people who warned they would assault anyone carrying a foreign passport.

The immigrants spoke at a tent camp where they are now living having fled Alexandra when the mobs began attacking shops owned by those from other African countries.

The violence in Alexandra township followed anti-immigrant riots in and around the coastal city of Durban that killed at least six people, recalling a bout of similar unrest in South Africa in 2008 in which about 60 people died.


The message from the mobs in Alexandra was, 'We don't want to see people with passports. We only want to see people with South African IDs,' said Veronica Lechaea, who comes from the southern African country of Lesotho and has lived in South Africa since 2008.

Lechaea, who works as an office cleaner in Johannesburg, left her home in Alexandra and sought refuge in a camp set up on the grounds of an Anglican church by the charity Gift of the Givers.

She said she makes about $250 a month and sends half of the money home to Lesotho to support her 12-year-old son, who is living there with his grandparents.


The attacks stem from a perception that immigrants are taking jobs at the expense of South Africans in a country with high unemployment.  

Many people from other countries have entered South Africa illegally, though the government has said a large number are working legally and contributing to economic development.

Some African countries are arranging to repatriate their fearful citizens, and there have been protests and calls in Malawi, Zimbabwe and other regional nations for a boycott of South African goods.

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