By Andile Dlamini | 2022-11-28
Ezulwini - An Asian businessman was yesterday stabbed to death while in his shop at Buka by a popular man who had asked to be given cigarettes on credit.
The suspect, identified as Leon Sibandze, of Extension 3, Mbabane was admitted to the Mbabane Government Hospital after he was severely assaulted by members of the public, who stopped a kombi he boarded immediately after the stabbing.
Sibandze is alleged to have stabbed the businessman once in the neck with a knife.
Sibandze is said to have visited the shop yesterday where he requested to be given cigarettes on credit but his request was declined.
The businessman was with his assistant in the shop.
After his request was declined, Sibandze allegedly stabbed the businessman in front of his assistant and walked out.
The Asian followed him as Sibandze ran towards Buka, but stopped when he saw the businessman fall to the ground.
Sibandze is alleged to have then boarded a kombi and members of the public raised an alarm, which saw another kombi blocking the road.
According to eyewitnesses, Sibandze was then dragged out of the kombi and heavily assaulted and was saved by the timely arrival of the police, who found him helpless in the middle of the road and bleeding profusely as he suffered multiple injuries.
Meanwhile, the businessman was rushed to Manzini Clinic by his family but was later pronounced dead.
However, eyewitnesses said the business was already in a very bad state by the time he was transported to hospital and believe that he died in the hands of his assistant, who rushed to his rescue after seeing him fall.
The shop was later closed.
The businessman, whose identity is withheld had been renting the shop from a resident Mgubho Ginindza for six months, according to Lobamba Inkhundla Constituency headman Abraham Bhembe.
He said the community had suffered a great deal in the businessman’s death as he played a critical role by supporting the elderly and destitute.
“He was of great help to the community and would at times give credit to those he knew were less privileged or faced certain challenges. We are saddened that an outstanding member of the community could be killed in such a manner,” said Bhembe.
The businessman, who was 27 years old, was described as a humble and respectful man.
According to Bhembe, the suspect Sibandze was known to be from Mbabane.
Some of the people found at the scene said Leon was new to the area and had recently started staying there.
They said they knew him to be working for a non-governmental organisation, where he taught about the dangers of drug use and on HIV/AIDS.
Bhembe said it was time that the country revisited their decision to grant bail to everyone.
He said this would perhaps deter would-be criminals from easily committing crime as was the case in the businessman’s case.
According to Bhembe, not granting them bail would send a message to all those who commit acts of violence.
“A person will kill their lover and be out by next week as if nothing happened, it is as if government is trying to make money out of bail,” he said
“The justice system really needs to look into such issues and address them otherwise we are in danger as a society,” he said.
Bhembe applauded the community for stopping Sibandze from escaping and the police for swiftly responding.
“That is what communities should do, stand up against crime and report criminals,” he said.
Community members who were found next to the shop said they were shocked at the incident, more especially as they did not know Sibandze to be violent and were surprised that he even carried a knife.
He was described as someone who was always jolly and wondered why he did not pay for the cigarettes as they believed he had money.
Sibandze is said to have recovered from drug addiction and was working for a non-governmental organisation and taught about the dangers of drugs and also on HIV/AIDs related matters.
He would also go around local schools where he was teaching pupils on the dangers of substance abuse. Sibandze would also post his teachings on social media, especially on Facebook.
However, it could not be easily ascertained if he had again started using drugs, as this allegedly caused a rift between him and his mother who had a peace binding order issued out against him after he allegedly sold some of her belongings.
His mother is alleged to have kicked him out of her house and that was how he came to live in Buka.
A security guard at the shop said he was still trying to recover from the shock.
“I am still traumatised. I got a call around 12 and they were telling me to come to the shop. They did not tell me what happened. I only realised once I got to the shop that he has been killed.” He also described his boss as a down to earth man, who was helpful to the community as he used to give the elderly some of the items on credit and allowed them to pay when they received their grant.
“I do not want to believe my boss is no more. I do not think I will be able to work tonight. This is a huge blow to the community because we were all fond of him and his kindness.” He said he was in constant communication with the shop assistant, who was also traumatised.
“She tried to save our boss but failed. I think he was stabbed with a sharp and long knife. From what I got, he was already dead when they took him to hospital.”
Chief Police Information and Communications Officer, Superintendent Phindile Vilakati, said Sibandze had been arrested and was receiving medical attention.
“We are not sure if he will be admitted,” Vilakati said.
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