Sam Mbatha remains missing
Two men have appeared in court in connection with the burnt body found in the boot of a car belonging to Sam Mbatha, a member of the LGBTIQ+ community.
Arthus Khoza, 18, and Mahlatsi Nkuna, 20, appeared before the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrates Court on Wednesday on a charge of murder.
They were arrested after police discovered an unidentified male body inside a burnt Hyundai i20 at a soccer field in Ikageng Section, Klipgat on Thursday 17 June.
Initial investigations led the police to a house in Phutha Section, Klipgat on Monday 21 June. In one of the bedrooms, investigators found bloodstains on the floor, under and on top of a bed as well as on the carpet.
Furthermore, an axe suspected to have been used during the commission of the crime was found on top of the roof of the house.
After this gruesome discovery, investigations led to the arrest of the two suspects. A third suspect, who is known to the police, is still being traced.
The victim has not yet been identified as the body was burned beyond recognition. There are fears that it may be that of Mbatha, a popular social media officer for the North-West University’s Mahikeng campus, who remains missing.
The investigation is ongoing but the body’s identity can only be confirmed through DNA testing. The two suspects will remain in custody at least until their next court appearance on 30 June.
Last week, queer Twitter was flooded with posts claiming that Mbatha had been murdered because of his sexual identity. In response, his family issued a statement calling for an end to the speculation and pointing out that the body had not been identified.
The police have asked anyone who can assist in the investigation to contact the Investigating Officer, Warrant Officer Thabo Sekgororoana on 082 520 1588 or to call the South African Police Service Crime Stop number on 08600 10111.