Man photographed stabbing Emmanuel Sithole arrested

Police confirmed the man who was photographed stabbing Sithole was among those arrested.

Police had their hands full in Johannesburg in the latest flare-up of xenophobic violence in mid-April 2015. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Police have confirmed to Eyewitness News that the man photographed stabbing Mozambican national Emmanuel Sithole is among those arrested last night.

Photographs of Sithole being attacked while pleading for his life were published in the Sunday Times yesterday, and sparked a nationwide reaction.

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For three weeks authorities have been battling sporadic attacks on foreign nationals in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Seven people, including a 14-year-old South African boy, have now been killed in the latest flare up of xenophobic violence.

The police's Lungelo Dlamini says, "He was one of the suspects who was taken into custody last night and he will be appearing in court tomorrow."

A manhunt continues for a fourth suspect believed to have been involved in Sithole's murder.

With the suspects still due to make their first court appearance, the police aren't saying much at this stage.

But Dlamini says residents in Alexandra played a big role.

"A manhunt for the fourth suspect is continuing. The suspects were arrested in Alexandra with the help from members of the community."

He says, "Several exhibits that may be used as evidence were seized during the arrests. The suspects are due to appear in the Alexandra Magistrates Court tomorrow."

It's understood Sithole was selling cigarettes on the side of a road when he was confronted by four men.

An argument ensued when the group took the goods without paying.

Authorities on Sunday offered a reward of up to R100,000 for information related to his murder.


The photographer who captured Sithole's images, James Oatway, says he was alerted to the commotion by some screaming, and rushed over to document what was going on.

He says the stabbing now feels surreal, like he watched it on television.

Oatway says they rushed Sithole to hospital and at first didn't think he was in mortal danger.

"He was still very conscious. I tried speaking to him a bit but I couldn't really understand what he was saying. I really didn't think that he was going to die because he still had a lot of energy."

He says he believes he did exactly what a photojournalist is supposed to, and his only regret is the time lost at the first clinic, which was unable to help Sithole.

LISTEN: Sunday Times Photojournalist James Oatway witnessed & reported on the killing of Mozambican national Emmanuel Sithole in Alexandra.