Families tell of heartache after two murdered
The two young Komani men beaten to death and dumped in shallow graves, allegedly by Pakistani nationals last weekend, were raised by loving families left distraught by their brutal deaths.
Vuyisile Homo, 31, and Siphelele Dastile, 27, suspected of breaking into a hardware store in Komani Street, were murdered on Sunday August 14.
Their bodies were left in shallow graves near Roydon farm. The two lived on the streets but had homes in Mlungisi. Homo’s family home is in New Brighton and Siphelele’s in Unifound.
Devastated family members spoke to The Rep on Wednesday. “I am upset. My spirit has been broken because we have lost someone we love,” said a weeping Nosakhumzi Dastile, Siphelele’s aunt.
She said Siphelele, the last-born child, was raised by his late grandmother. His family were surprised when he began to live on the streets, but he often went home and would stay for a while before disappearing without telling anyone.
“We are not happy as a family. This news has devastated us. He loved all his family members and visited us.”
She said Siphelele had once talked about coming back home to build a room in the backyard. “The next thing we heard was that he was dead.”
Dastile called for the perpetrators to remain in jail. “They should have come to us and we would have returned whatever they [allegedly] stole, instead of killing people for something we are not even clear about. We do not have the full story because the police did not come to report to us – we only learnt [from community leaders] on Monday that our child had died on Sunday..”
The Homos, meanwhile, called a family meeting on Wednesday evening to discuss plans for their loved one.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Mandisa Homo, said: “We are in deep pain as a family after learning that Vuyisile was one of the victims of a merciless attack by foreign nationals.”
She said Vuyisile had had a mental illness and undertook treatment. He had also left his home to live on the streets.
Neighbour Zanemvula Deliwe condemned the attacks. “It hurt me very much. If they saw them on the video footage, why did they decide to take the law into their own hands? This is very serious.”
Meanwhile, the four Pakistani nationals accused of the attacks appeared in the Queenstown magistrate ’ s court under close police watch on Tuesday.
Farman Mohammed, Rashid Mahmood, Adeel Rehman and Abdul Rehman, aged 27 to 35, face murder charges.
The court also heard the state would oppose their release. The four are due to make a formal bail application on August 23.
Although not confirmed by Komani police, The Rep has learnt that a third youth was also attacked but survived after managing to escape. He is reportedly fighting for his life in an undisclosed health facility.
It is alleged that Homo and Dastile were tracked down after being identified on video footage following a break-in at the store. There have also been rumours that certain people were paid R200 each to find them before the fatal beatings.
It was only after local security company Red Guard saw video footage of the youths’ bodies being loaded into a vehicle in the early hours of Sunday morning that the police were involved in the incident.
Police spokesperson Captain Namhla Mdleleni said: “On Sunday, August 14, at about 8am police were summoned to a complaint of murder at a hardware store in Komani Street and later found two bodies of unknown men dumped near Roydon farm.”
The incident has shocked the Komani community and social messages condemning the attacks made the rounds the whole week. These included a call for a community meeting led by civic organisations to respond to the tragedy.
Enkulukweni Neighbourhood Watch leader Elias Magwayi said they had followed up on the tragic incident and confirmed they were involved in informing family members.
Magwayi, who denounced the attacks, contended that instead of taking the two youths to the police station when they were called to the scene, Red Guard officers drove them to the burglary scene.
“Red Guard was not supposed to take the [alleged] perpetrators to the complainant. We are still wondering if these children [Vuyisile and Siphelele] were the ones responsible for the break-in.”
In response, Red Guard operational manager Willie Reinecke said their vehicle had taken one youth to New Rest to identify the burglary suspects, but returned him when they could not find the suspects. The youth was released in the presence of Red Guard officers, Reinecke said.
Later, Red Guard officers returned to the burglary scene and found the business owners were keeping three youths and told the officers to go away because they were “useless”.
“At no stage did our vehicles transport any of those suspects. We were never inside the shop involved in any assault on those [burglary] suspects. How or where they got them we do not know.”
Mian Mudassar Naseer, a member of the Pakistani community in Komani, also condemned the attacks.
“I totally condemn what happened to the beloved family members. We are not violent people – we have been here for more than 20 years and not even once has this type of incident happened.
“We are very sorry and we want to support good attitudes in Queenstown. We are totally against violence,” Naseer said.