Four appear in court over killing of an albino

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Four men have appeared in court in Mpumalanga in connection with the murder of a man.

The man, an albino, allegedly used to paint himself black before committing a crime.

The four - Boysen Dibakwane, 29, Sicelo Lekhuleni, 19, Katlego Mawelele, 30, and Thabiso Ngomane, 30 - were not asked to plead to charges of murder.

They were each granted R1000 bail.

The albino, Bassie Maphanga, 29, of Matenteng village in Bushbuckridge, was allegedly woken by his friend Dibakwane shortly after midnight on August 10.

Dibakwane had reportedly been kidnapped by about 50 members of the community so that they could use him to lure Maphanga out of the house.

"The community members kidnapped the deceased's friend from his home and frog-marched him to Maphanga's place so he could call him out of the house," said Mpumalanga police spokesman Superintendent Abie Khoabane.

When Maphanga came out, the crowd allegedly grabbed him and assaulted him with stones and knobkerries.

Neighbours called the police and when the officers arrived the mob scattered.

Police found Maphanga's body in a pool of blood. Stones and other objects allegedly used to assault him lay beside the body.

The police arrested Dibakwane as an accomplice to murder because he had allegedly lured Maphanga out of his house.

Khoabane said police were also investigating allegations that Maphanga had raped three women in the area after smearing black polish on his face.

"We understand that he used to paint himself pitch black so he could not be easily identified. Some say he looked as black as two nights put together," said Khoabane.

He said communities should not resort to mob justice but identify suspects to community policing forums.

"Taking the law into one's hands is barbaric.

"We are calling upon all those who participated in the murder to hand themselves over to us," said Khoabane.