Elvis Nyathi

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Mbodazwe Elvis Nyathi
Elvis Nyathi.jpg
DiedApril 6, 2022(2022-04-06)
Diepsloot, Johannesburg
Cause of deathmob killing
Children4 children
RelativesGodknows Nyathi (brother)

Mbodazwe Elvis Nyathi was a Zimbabwean man living in South Africa who was killed in a Xenophobic attack in Diepsloot Ext 1, northern Johannesburg on the night of 6 April 2022. He was killed by a mob who were going around the neighbourhood demanding to see identity documents.

He was 43 years old when he was murdered. Nyathi lived with his wife in a shack. His 4 children live in Zimbabwe. Nyathi worked as a gardener in a place called Fourways.

Before Nyathi's killing,

Events leading to Nyathi's death

During the day on 6 April 2022 hundreds of residents had been protesting against crime and poor policing of immigration laws, a part of South Africa's ongoing Operation Dudula campaign.

At night heavily armed members of the police's tactical response teams and public order police combed through the tightly knit shacks in Diepsloot, trying to keep the peace.[1]

According to a witness during the night, an angry mob came to their gate demanding to see the identity documents of the residents.

Nyathi his wife and a few others, apparently knowing they had no papers, hid behind their shack . The mob searched for guns and Sjamboks but could not find any. Soon, they found Nyathi and they chased and apprehended him. The mob accused him of having guns and being an undocumented criminal.

They then tied him up, assaulted him with sticks and stones, and burnt him to death on Thubelihle Street, some 20 meters from his home.

Nomsa Tshuma, widow of Elvis Nyathi

Reactions to Nyathi's death

Commenting on his brother's death Godknows Nyathi said:

"We are hurt because my brother was not a criminal. I spoke to him yesterday when he was at work and after work, he came back home to Diepsloot and they killed him. My brother was a good person. He had a wife and four children,"[1]

Commenting to Nyathi's killing, SA president Cyril Ramaphosa said the next day:

"We are consulting on all sides, people who live there in Diepsloot and also this thing is very close to their concerns. But we will not condone any criminality. Any form of criminality which results in the death of anyone is not acceptable, and we will take action to deal with it."[2]

EFF South Africa national spokesperson Sinawo Tambo said the party was dismayed and saddened:

“We send our deepest condolences to his beloved ones, who have been robbed in the most brutal manner of a father, a husband and a son. May his soul rest in peace. The painful images which are populating SA television screens today are the ashes of what was once a human being, who was burnt alive simply because he could not provide a passport to individuals who have taken the law into their own hands.

Elvis Nyathi remains

The EFF has long warned that if the various groups mushrooming on the anti-immigration ticket are not stopped, it will end in a loss of life. It is unfortunate that in this instance, we have been proven correct.

These vigilante groups attribute all crimes in this country to foreign nationals, without any scientific or crime statistics to corroborate their claims. As a result, it has become a syndicate that extorts people, hijacks houses, loots African-owned retail outlets, burns the stores of Africans and today burns a human being to ashes.

These are the consequences of endorsing and sponsoring vigilante groups by popular media and the ruling party itself, which seeks to scapegoat its inability to fight crime, create jobs and provide adequate health care to foreign nationals.

Domestic violence and abuse is perpetuated by the men of this country and the infiltration of drugs in our communities is enabled by South Africans themselves.”[3]

CCC released a statement on the killing:

The murder of Nyathi is a regrettable affront to ubuntu and a direct violation of Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights which binds the whole continent and provides that every individual has the right to the respect of the dignity inherent in a human being and to the recognition of his legal status. All forms of degradation of man including cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment are prohibited.

We call for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators to ensure that justice is done. We further call for the de-escalation of the anti-immigrant rhetoric by public figures and shadowy groups who are fomenting the abuse, extortion, and violence against African nationals.

The death of Elvis Nyathi is a stark reminder that Zanu PF has failed the citizens of Zimbabwe. Citizens like Elvis Nyathi have been forced out of Zimbabwe because of man-made poverty, injustice and corruption. No Zimbabwean should lose their life because they have been driven out of the country by failed leadership. The regime in Harare has failed in its obligation to serve and protect citizens at home and abroad.[4]


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