Plea bargains being prepared in Emmanuel Josias case

Two of the four accused in the Mozambican national’s murder have entered plea bargains with the state.

Four men accused of stabbing Emmanuel Sithole to death made a brief court appearance at the Alexanra Magistrate Court on 21 April 2015. Picture: @SAPoliceService.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will spend the next week preparing plea bargain agreements for two of the men accused of stabbing Mozambican national Emmanuel Josias to death.

The pair yesterday indicated that they want to enter into a deal with the state and abandoned their bail application in the Alexandra Magistrates Court.

Accused number one, Mthinto Bhengu, is likely to enter a plea when the case resumes next week.

Bhengu is the man who was photographed attacking Josias with a knife in images that made international headlines.

The NPA's Velekhaya Mgobhozi won't say much about the case, but has suggested that all the accused may plead guilty to the charges of murder and robbery against them.

"At this stage the NPA is not prepared to discuss the merit or demerit of the case but the matter has been adjourned for a possible guilty plea on all accused."

However, speaking through their attorney in court yesterday, two of the accused indicated they will plead not guilty.

At the same time, the Mozambican national's family said they wish President Jacob Zuma had consulted them before going public with allegations that the slain hawker had used a false name.

The Sithole family has strongly denied claims that he was using a false identity, saying the president's comments were completely untrue.

They've explained that Josias was Emmanuel's second name, and have moved to clarify that in their culture children are identified by their father's first name.

In Emmanuel's case, his father's name was Josias, and he therefore used that name as his surname.

His sister Thando said, "It's Emmanuel Josias Sithole. Jacob Zuma was supposed to speak to us as the family before he could tell the public."

Last month, the president said the father of three was using the false name Emmanuel Sithole instead of his real name to try and avoid detection because he was in the country illegally.