Earl Coetzee
Premium News Editor
2 minute read
19 Jun 2021
10:58 am

Update: Anger over man burned to death in car’s boot – speculations of homophobia

Earl Coetzee

Police are awaiting DNA results to confirm the victim's identity, and the family of the car's owner have asked for an end to speculation until the investigation is complete.

Sam Mbatha. Picture: Twitter/@sylvesterchauke

Police in the Northwest are investigating a case of murder, after a man’s body was found in the boot of a burning car, in what some believe is a homophobic incident.

Police responded to a report of a car burning in the Ikageng Section of Klipgat, approximately 40 km outside Pretoria, at around 07:00 on Thursday morning.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Adele Myburgh said upon arrival, officers immediately set to work to extinguish the fire, and upon further investigation the body of what is believed to be a male victim was found in the car’s boot.

The car’s ownership was traced to marketing and communications professional Sam Mbatha. Mbatha has been missing since Thursday.

Sam Mbatha. Picture: Twitter

“Unfortunately the body was burned beyond recognition,” Myburgh said, “which means they will have to wait for DNA testing to confirm the identity of the victim.

“A murder case has been opened, but because it can not yet be confirmed whether this was in fact the owner of the vehicle, police will have to wait before officially declaring Mr Mbatha to be the victim.”

Police had initially opened a missing person’s case as well, but have decided to put this on hold while they wait to confirm the identity of the victim.

Meanwhile, friends of Mbatha’s have taken to social media to mourn his death, as well as speak out against homophobia, which they believe was the motive for his death.

Mbatha’s family, meanwhile, have asked for those posting speculative messages on social media to refrain from doing so, and to allow the police to complete their investigation.

Statement from the Mbatha family

Statement from the Mbatha family

Police could not yet determine the motive for the murder, and no suspects have been identified.

  • This article has been updated to include the statement from Mbatha’s family.