Xolani Khumalo, who hosts the popular anti-drug program Sizokuthola, is in the middle of a storm after a suspected drug dealer he and his crew were killed in mysterious circumstances this week.
“Police can confirm that a murder case has been opened at Foslorus Police Station and has been transferred to Cattlehong North Police Station, where an investigation is under way. No arrests have been made yet, but the investigation is at an advanced stage,” Gauteng Police spokeswoman Mavilla Masondo said.
The drama allegedly began when Kumalo, accompanied by his crew and Gauteng Patrollers, known as Amapaniaza, descended on a house in Katlehong, southeast of Johannesburg, on Wednesday.
APARTHEID-style interrogation tactics
Apparently on a tip-off, they cornered the house’s occupant, Robert “Kicks” Farry, and began questioning him.
Fary’s girlfriend, Eunice Radt, with whom he was living with their two children, was not home at the time.
She told Radt City Press that she was at a nearby hairdressing salon when a group of vehicles drove by.
She starts hearing people making noises, excited to see Xolani from Moja Love TV show Sizokuthola. I noticed a lot of people, including the amapanyaza and some of the camera crew. I rushed home and upon arrival I found my baby lying on the floor and I could hear Kix screaming inside the house.
She was denied entry to the house, Rat said, but through the slightly open door, she was able to see a group of armed men in masks grabbing her boyfriend.
Vari’s pants were down, with his underwear showing some wetness. According to her, the crew found two bags containing drugs, but kept asking them to give them more.
Then they put a plastic bag around his head and pepper sprayed him before suffocating him with it. While they were holding him down, they said he should move his right leg as a sign of his desire to confess.”
Bystanders were recording the incident on their mobile phones while others were trying to call the police to intervene.
Raadt said that the “enforcers” then began confiscating people’s cell phones, including her own.
A few minutes later, I saw a double-cab white bakkie heading towards the yard. Four well-built men loaded kicks into the back of the spot and ran away. I think he died at that time and they dressed him in my clothes after he ruined the clothes he was wearing. Obviously, they didn’t know who was wearing his clothes.
After the executors disappeared along with the father of her children, Ra’at said she and some friends began looking for him at local clinics. They were later told that he had been taken to Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital in Vosloorus.
Upon arriving there, Radat and her friends are told by the nurses that Vary had been pronounced dead by the time Albaky delivered him.
Rethabile Mofokeng, who lives near the couple’s house, was also very unlucky with the group of enforcers.
The crew went to her home and searched it, allegedly taking some cash and cell phones. Then they asked her to tell them where she kept the drugs.
“They stripped me naked before putting a plastic tube around my face and spraying me with pepper. They told me to signal with my right foot when I was ready to tell them where the medicines were. I kept pointing and they repeated the process until I told them I was out of breath. Then they left me and went to the man they found me with.”
Another bed victim
Mofokeng said the attackers then began to assault her friend, Tsitsi Bell, who was also at the scene. They used a police baton [generally referred to as a donkiekierie] To beat it until it breaks. They wanted to know where he hid the drugs he was known to sell.
He kept telling them that the person who used to sell drugs had moved on and no longer lived in the yard, but they weren’t convinced. They changed the method of questioning and started throwing him and letting him fall [his arms] She was tied to iron bars behind her [his back].
Peele was still bedridden yesterday when City Press visited him in Katlehong. The scars and swelling on his body bore witness to the brutal beating. We were shown the remains of the stick with which he was beaten so badly that it broke.
According to at least two bystanders, the armed crew also included local crime unit Thatha Zonki, who became famous for their adaptation of an apartheid-era choking technique called “pipe”. The method involves placing a tube around the victim’s face, to prevent them from inhaling oxygen.
In a video in the possession of City Press, Thatha-Zonke leader Mandla Nkambule is shown walking alongside Khumalo and his crew. Nkampoul is seen holding a gun.
Watch the video below:
In an interview with City Press, Nkambule admitted he was at the scene, but said he did not enter the house where Fari was allegedly killed.
I have never entered this property and at the moment am waiting for the police to come and take my statement. “I have nothing to say,” he said.
In June of this year, Nkambule appeared on the investigative TV show Carte Blanche, in which he said that while his outfit worked in tandem with the police and the Community Policing Forum, he took a more ruthless approach — to the point of “fighting fire with fire.”
Popular show welcome
Khumalo came to prominence when his show Sizokuthola premiered in January 2023 on DStv channel 157. Under the umbrella of Moja Love, the show airs on Sunday evenings.
Unconventional for South African television, the show features him prowling the streets looking for drug dealers.
When he finally stops his quarry, he uses confrontational tactics to get them to reveal their stash of drugs to the camera crew.
Although viewers watching from home can never see the bomb interrogations, there has always been suspicion that Kumalo and his crew use physical force to get suspected drug dealers to cooperate and confess.
His anti-drug campaigns have earned him many accolades in many parts of the country, as he is seen as someone willing to venture into an ambiguous area where police forces are often too afraid or simply reluctant to go.
However, this glory is matched by an increasing number of threats to Khumalo’s life.
Such death threats came with such regularity that Foyo Zongola, the leader of the Pan-African Movement, wrote to Police Minister Biki Sele, asking for state protection for the popular TV presenter from drug traffickers.
knock over the plate
After this highly publicized appeal, Moja Love was quick to assuage the public’s fears, insisting that it has tightened security around Kumalo.
In the wake of Fari’s death this week and the alleged assaults on others, Moja Love spokesperson Nonzwakazi Cekete said its crew operated within the confines of the law and therefore did not torture suspects.
After being questioned about allegations that crew members used rubber tubes on suspected drug dealers, she said:
“The crew doesn’t carry stuff like that during production. We carry equipment to shoot with and that’s it. The cameras that show what’s happening in the communities are the crew’s weapons. We abide by the law, because we understand that no one is above it. Per our disclaimer, we work alongside law enforcement.”
However, Raat told City Press that someone from the TV station called her to arrange a meeting. She said that the person was inquiring about the Honorable Fari and wanted to know how they could help the family.
City Press has a recording of the conversation between Raat and the supposed actor.
A source on a high-level security block said Moja Love had been approached by the SA Police Service with a view to establishing a working relationship with her after seeing the positive results emerging from the show’s efforts.
is reading: Moja Love shreds optimistic designs
However, the source added, those efforts did not result in convictions, because the crew members did not follow legal process and appeared to have crossed the line. They also apparently refused to work with the police in following due process.
A police officer familiar with the discussions confirmed: “This often led to cases being thrown out of court on technical grounds, but the management of the TV station did not want to work with us.”
By the time of print, National Police spokesperson Athena Matthey declined to comment on whether the TV channel was working with the police for the show.
However, there have been incidents where the police have been involved in raids.