Murdered: Siphiwe Nhlapo
Siphiwe Selby Nhlapo
It’s been confirmed that two men, who are related, will now be charged with the September 2011 murder of Siphiwe Selby Nhlapo.
Nhlapo, who was gay, was killed in his Kliptown, Soweto home. He was strangled and had acid poured over his face.
In April 2012, Phumlani Msimango appeared in the Protea Magistrate’s Court in connection with the attack. He admitted to breaking into Nhlapo’s home with his cousin, Nhlanhla Msimango, but claimed he did not kill Nhlapo and blamed the murder solely on his relative.
Phumlani was found guilty of housebreaking and robbery on the night of the murder, but his cousin remained on the run.
Last week, it was reported that Nhlanhla was finally in police custody after being arrested earlier for a hijacking in Dobsonville, Soweto. Police only realised later that he was the same man accused of Nhlapo’s murder.
Suspect Nhlanhla Msimango
The Star confirmed on Wednesday that Phumlani has now also been linked to the killing and not just robbery. It is expected that he will face charges of murder along with Nhlanhla, who appeared in court on Tuesday.
Nhlapo is one of eight gay men murdered in similar circumstances in Gauteng over the past two to three years.
There have also been a number of similar murders in Cape Town but these have not been conclusively connected to the Gauteng incidents. Police have previously stated that they are investigating the possibility that a gang could be targeting gay men in these areas.
Three men are facing charges of murdering one of the other Gauteng victims, Barney van Heerden (39) from Orange Grove, also in September 2011.
Police have yet to link any of the suspects arrested in the two murders to any of the other attacks.
It is thought that at least some of the murdered men may have met their killer or killers through online dating sites. Police have warned gay men to be extremely cautious about letting strangers into their home.