'Bring him back home'

ANANIAS Mathe's family plans to petition the South African government to let him serve his sentence in Mozambique.

Mathe was convicted of 64 charges, including rape, attempted murder, robbery and possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition.

His brother Nitu said Mathe was the family's breadwinner because nine other siblings had died. Nitu lost his leg in a car accident in 2003 and is unemployed.

"My brother has little children who have not seen him since they were born. At least let him serve his sentence in Mozambique so that his children and wives can visit him," Nitu said.

He said the entire family was shocked by the charges because they knew Mathe as a good man.

He said he last saw his brother as a free man in 2003.

Thomas Sithole, who was Mathe's neighbour in Chicumbane and also in Alexandra, Johannesburg, said Mathe came to South Africa in 1995.

Sithole and Nitu denied reports that Mathe had been involved in the military in Mozambique.

But for now Nitu and his friends have more pressing concerns: taking care of Ananias's children, who are starving in Chicumbane. - Sowetan reporter