Suspects in Sam Junior Mbatha murder released on R500 bail

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Sam Junior Mbatha is believed to have been murdered and set alight

The family of queer man Sam Junior Mbatha, who is believed to have been murdered and set alight in his car, have issued an update on the case.

Police discovered a body in the boot of Mbatha’s burnt Hyundai i20 at a soccer field in Ikageng Section, Klipgat on Thursday 17 June. The identity of the victim could not be confirmed as the body was burned beyond recognition.

Investigations led the police to a house in Phutha Section, Klipgat. In one of the bedrooms, investigators found bloodstains on the floor, under and on top of a bed as well as on the carpet.

An axe suspected to have been used during the commission of the crime was found on the roof of the house.

Four suspects were arrested. According to a statement by Mbatha family representative Kgomotso Sepeng, three of the suspects were granted bail of R500 on 13 August.

The fourth suspect – alleged to be the main suspect – remains behind bars after he abandoned his bail application.

The alleged perpetrators will next appear in the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrates Court on 2 September. The family said that “public support and presence will be highly appreciated” at the court appearance.

They also confirmed that the evidence gathered by the police, including statements from the accused, “indicates that Sam Junior Mbatha was murdered and placed in the boot of his car, which was subsequently set alight.”

The family of the well-liked up-and-coming marketer revealed that they are still awaiting DNA results from the SAPS forensics department to confirm the identity of the body.

“We would like to encourage and request friends, the LGBTQI community, the general public and media houses to join and support us in advocating and calling for justice for our beloved, Sam,” said the family.

“We hope justice will be served with no exceptions, not only for Sam but for each life denied the opportunity to live as the fullness of themselves. We hope that you will continue to fight and declare that Queer Lives Matter,” they asserted.

Mbatha is one of 18 LGBTIQ+ individuals murdered in South Africa since 12 February this year.

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