South African court gives three life sentences over Somali murder


PRETORIA (Hiranweyn) –A court in Pretoria Saturday has issued life term sentences to three South Africans convicted of murdering a Somali businessman in eastern South Africa which has seen numerous xenophobia attacks against foreigners.


The three were charged with robbery and the ‘intentional’ murder of Ahmed Salad who was killed at his business premise called Mike Supermarket in Mpumalanga near Swaziland border in 2012.


According the court’s testimony, the attackers have opened fire on Mr. Salaad, 26 after breaking into his business centre while he slept at a night-time. Two of his staffers who were with him survived after hiding themselves behind a cabinet in the shopping centre.

One of the attackers who was identified as Themba Mathibela has reportedly shot dead the businessman while his accomplices watched.

The judge at the magistrate court said that the three took the Somali man’s life, cutting short his life and his struggle towards helping his war weary families back home in Somalia.

The rare conviction against the three raises hope for Somalis in South Africa who lost dozens of fellow citizens to xenophobia attacks in the country.

South Africans often accuse foreigners of taking their jobs, a reason they often use to justify attacks against foreigners in South Africa.

South Africa’s government has been inactive towards the xenophobia attacks until last week that troops dispersed and arrested hundreds of ouths who were trying to attack foreigners-owned businesses.

Dozens of Somalis have been killed in South Africa for the past few years. Many of them have had their businesses robbed and seriously wounded.

The Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini was accused of hate speech following remarks he made against foreigners that they “must pack up and leave the country”, which had led to attacks on foreigners in South Africa in July.