Accused plead not guilty to murder of Emmanuel Josias

Emmanuel Josias, also known as Emmanuel Sithole, was stabbed to death in Alexandra in April.

FILE: Mozambican national Emmanuel Josias was stabbed to death in Alexandra in April. Picture: James Oatway/Sunday Times.

JOHANNESBURG - Three men and a minor arrested in connection with the murder of Emmanuel Josias, also known as Emmanuel Sithole, have pleaded not guilty to all charges against them.

The suspects allegedly stabbed the Mozambican vendor to death in Alexandra in April.

Images of Josias' murder at the height of xenophobic violence made international headlines.

Sifundo Mzimela, Sizwe Mngomezulu, Nthinta Bhengu and a 17-year-old boy have pleaded not guilty to killing and robbing Josias.

The state prosecutor told the court the group unlawfully and intentionally murdered the 25-year-old man.

Today's proceedings are being held in camera because one of the accused is a minor.

Emmanuel Josias' father and grandfather are also here today.

The Johannesburg Regional court heard how community members tried to intervene when Josias was being attacked by a group of youngsters.

The state's first witness, Sibusiso Mnyandu, has described how the Mozambican was beaten and stabbed by four young men in Alexandra.

Mnyandu says he was too scared to intervene because he was worried his life would be in danger as foreigners were being attacked in the township at the time.

However he says some community members tried to help the 25-year-old.

The state has presented photographs taken by Sunday Times photo journalist James Oatway as evidence.

NPA OPTIMISTIC IN SECURING MURDER CONVICTION

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says it's confident it will secure a murder conviction in the murder case.

On Monday, two of the three accused were denied bail in the Alexandra Magistrates Court.

Meanwhile, the slain man's family lashed out at President Jacob Zuma and said his comments that Josias used a false name were completely untrue.

The family moved to clarify that Josias was his second name.

Josias's family explained that in their culture, children are identified by the first name of their father.

Zuma said the 25-year-old had used a false name to avoid detection because he was in the country illegally.