Sipho Mabena

By Sipho Mabena

Premium Journalist

Moja LOVE probe death of alleged drug dealer on Sizokthola   

Alleged drug dealer Robert “Kicks” Varrie, died after he was allegedly tortured to reveal drugs in his house.

Television production group Moja LOVE is investigating circumstances around the mysterious death of an alleged drug dealer for its popular reality show Sizokthola.

The deceased, Robert “Kicks” Varrie, was accosted by the show’s crew, apparently acting on a tip-off, and allegedly tortured to reveal more drugs in his Katlehong house last Wednesday.

He ended up dead at Thelle Mogoerane regional hospital in Vosloorus and police are investigating a case of murder in connection with the incident.

Apartheid-style torture tactics

City Press has revealed that the armed crew was accompanied by local crime-fighting unit Thatha-Zonke, said to be notorious for the use of an apartheid-era style asphyxiation method called “tubing”.

The crew was accompanied by crime prevention wardens, better known as AmaPanyaza, unveiled by Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi in May to tackle crime hot spots in the province.

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“Based on information currently at our disposal, we are advised that following a community tip-off, the crew on 19 July 2023 attended a drug bust in Katlehong and did so in conjunction with community law enforcement groups, as  is customary, that are recognised by the local SAPS,” Moja LOVE spokesperson Nonzwakazi Cekete said in a statement.

Deceased was not cooperating

She said the information received by the crew and the local community groups was credible and verifiable, and that during the bust, conducted within the confines of the law, the Varrie did not cooperate.

Persistence by the members of the community policing forum resulted in Varrie agreeing to hand over drugs hidden at the premises. 

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“Whilst Moja LOVE can confirm that the crew was within the vicinity of the premises when the deceased was being questioned; the channel is still investigating the circumstances that led to the deceased having to be allegedly rushed to hospital. We will wait for the official autopsy results for cause of death,” she said.

Cekete said the show continues to work with law enforcement agencies, and in each of the shows, police case numbers are shared, and suspects are handed over to the authorities for further investigations and legal processes. 

Death threats

She said the  channel would cooperate  with  any  investigations  that  may  be  initiated  and sent condolences to  Varrie’s family. 

“The channel is also offering the crew and any other interested individuals counselling assistance following news of the deceased,” Cekete added.

The show’s presenter, Xolani Khumalo, has reportedly received death threats from drug dealers, with the leader of the African Transformation Movement Vuyo Zungula, requesting Police Minister Bheki Cele to provide protection for the crew.

Sizokthola premiered on Moja LOVE, DStv channel 157, in January, and airs on Sunday evenings.

ALSO READ: ‘Sizokthola’ presenter Xolani Khumalo and crew attacked in Rustenburg

Read more on these topics

Crime Moja Love Murder Panyaza Lesufi

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