'I killed him' - alleged attacker’s chilling call after horror mine stabbing
Duo exchanged blows underground in June
"I killed him." These were the chilling words apparently uttered by the man who is accused of stabbing to death his colleague in cold blood at the Leseding family hostel in Westonaria, on the West Rand, last week.
Several workers at Sibanye-Stillwater mine who know both the deceased and the alleged killer, Boinehelo Lefafe, detailed to Sowetan yesterday how the man called a union representative to inform him of the crime he had committed.
Lefafe appeared briefly in the Westonaria magistrate’s court on Monday and was charged with premeditated murder of Alphino Macovo.
Workers at the mine said on Thursday, Lefafe went to the hostel looking for Macovo and upon finding him at the nearby spaza shop, he approached him and brutally attacked him with a knife – stabbing him several times in the abdomen area.
His colleagues, who asked not to be named, detailed how Lefafe made a phone call to a union representative telling him what he had done.
“[He told the rep] that he was actually after HR [human resources] manager and that the manager was lucky not to have been home at the time,” a colleague who heard the conversation told Sowetan.
After the attack, Lefafe is said to have waited with the body for police to arrive, during which he took a selfie with Macovo’s body lying next to him with his intestine exposed. The images of Lefafe seemingly gloating were circulated on social media at the weekend, leading to some questioning his mental state.
The incident has left the community of the mining area horrified and in disbelief. Community members flocked to court yesterday to see the accused in the dock. Lefafe appeared calm during court proceedings.
According to employees at the mine, Lefafe and Macovo had a historical conflicts sparked by incident that happened between them while at work underground in June which ended in a physical fight.
It’s alleged that Lefafe, who is employed as a shaft timber assistant, accidentally sprayed Macovo with water and Macovo retaliated by assaulting him, injuring him in the eye. Lefafe was apparently hospitalised for a month following the fight.
Upon his return to work from sick leave, Lefafe and Macovo were allegedly placed on suspension.
“He questioned why he had to be suspended when he was in fact a victim of an assault. The sanction was then lowered for both of them and a written warning was made. He was still unhappy because he said he did nothing wrong,” said a worker.
“He then went to open a case of assault with the police four weeks ago, but no arrest was made.”
The worker said this further angered Lefafe, who went looking for Macovo at the hostel days leading to the stabbing.
NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said Lefafe also cut open Macovo’s stomach and tried to cut off his head. “The security personnel at the mine did not intervene as they were not armed. The accused proceeded to take his cellphone and took photos and made videos posing with the deceased.
"The accused committed this heinous crime in broad daylight with onlookers who captured the incident, and the pictures and videos were circulated on social media. The accused handed over the knife to the police,” said Mjonondwane.
In court yesterday, Lefafe said he would need seven days to appoint a private attorney. He told the court that he did not have any previous convictions or pending cases except a case of child maintenance.
Shocked community members said they were taken aback when they heard about the heinous crime committed at the hostel.
“What has this world become... where people just kill each other over small disagreements. It’s scary. How could he stay and take a selfie afterwards. He is sick in the mind because no normal person would do that,” said resident Mamello Meso.
Mineworker Xolani Mdule said he knew the two as they worked together at shaft number 7 and had a dispute.
“We just did not realise that this is what he meant when he said he was looking for him. I did not think that it involved killing him. But something big must have happened,” he said.
The case was postponed to next week for Lefafe to get legal representation and formal bail application.
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