Talk of the Town

Bathurst family call for no bail: man’s murder rocks village


The family of a young Bathurst man who was murdered last Monday are hoping his alleged killers stay behind bars, while concerned residents have spoken out about increased crime in the peaceful village.

Residents joined the family at the Port Alfred magistrate’s court on Thursday, October 27, for the appearance of two men charged with murdering Samkele Dobo, 26.

Dobo worked as a car guard in the village.

Eastern Cape police spokespers­on, Warrant Officer Majola Nkohli, confirmed the arrest of Matt Van Zyl, 32, and Ryno Denston, 30.

“Police can confirm the arrest of two men for [allegedly] killing a 26year-old man in Bathurst on Monday October 24,” he said.

Nkohli said it was alleged that Van Zyl and Denston attacked and fatally stabbed Dobo on the road to Southwell near Bathurst, at about 5pm that day.

Quoting police reports, Nkohli said: “Two men, travelling in a bakkie, stopped a truck that was travelling [on the Southwell road] and informed him [the driver] there was a passenger in his truck whom they wanted to kill.

“It is further [alleged] one of the men fired two shots towards a passenger, Dobo, but missed.

“It is alleged that as Dobo was attempting to flee, he was attacked and stabbed. He was declared dead at the scene.”

Nkohli confirmed that a preliminar­y investigat­ion had led to the arrest of Van Zyl and Denston, who appeared in court briefly last Thursday.

They were remanded in custody until their bail applicatio­n, which is scheduled for Thursday, November 3.

Speaking on behalf of Dobo’s distraught family outside the court on Thursday, his grandfathe­r, Lennox Dobo, said: “We are very heartbroke­n because no-one could have seen such a tragedy happening.

“We are devastated and we don’t even have the means for the burial of our son,” he said.

The family, who heard about Samkele’s death the next morning, said they hoped the suspects would be denied bail, and that if convicted, they would face hefty prison sentences.

Nkohli said: “Police can confirm there is another case that is being investigat­ed against one of the accused.

“However, at this stage, there is crucial evidence that is outstandin­g before he could be formally charged on the matter.”

Among the Bathurst residents at the court on Thursday was Lesley Pook, 80.

Five days before Samkele’s murder, Pook was attacked while walking to a shop.

The elderly man said he was left with injuries to his head, neck, shoulder, elbow and wrist after being grabbed and pushed to the ground. Bathurst’s Community Policing Forum treasurer, Shane Steenkamp, said residents were “sick and tired“of the increasing crime in the area and were working with the relevant authoritie­s to try stamp it out.

“Between housebreak­ings, violent crime, drug use and drug sales, crime has been on the increase for a long time,” said Steenkamp.

Steenkamp said thanks to short prison sentences, the community was exposed to repeat offenders.

“We are addressing this at different levels at the moment to try and get it sorted out and today is pretty much the pinnacle,” Steenkamp said.

“It’s very tragic that a life was lost, very tragic that a family has been destroyed. All of us are here because we want justice to be carried forward.”

Steenkamp said the CPF believed that the drug trade was the cause of much of the crime in the otherwise peaceful village.

“Bathurst is sick and tired of the crime, we’re sick and tired of the drug addictions, the drug sales and we want to make a stand and we’re working in conjunctio­n with the cops and with the courts to try to get it sorted out,” he said.

According to official SAPS crime statistics for April to June 2022, home burglaries topped the list in Bathurst.

There were 24 burglary cases opened at the Bathurst Police Station during that period.

Assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH) and common assault were the next highest category (18 and 16 cases in the first quarter respective­ly).

The same period in 2022 saw 25 drug-related crimes in Port Alfred; however, drug-related crimes reported at the Bathurst Police Station went from nine during this period five years ago, to zero this year.

The Bathurst community is assisting the Dobo family to raise funds for Dobo’s burial.

Donations can be made in cash at the following shops in Bathurst: The Bathurst Arms, The Pig and Whistle and at That Coffee Place.

For more details, CPF member Chris Johnson can be contacted on 072-7536488.

❝ It’s very tragic that a life was lost, very tragic that a family has been destroyed. All of us are here because we want justice to be carried forward

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