A Step Towards Justice: Sam Mbatha Killers Found Guilty


The body of Sam Mbatha was found in the boot of his burned-out car in June 2021

After almost three years of delays and postponements, three men have finally been found guilty of murdering up-and-coming LGBTQI+ marketing and communications professional Sam Mbatha.

On Monday, the High Court sitting in the Ga-Rankuwa Regional Court found Arthur Khoza (19), Mahlatsi Nkuna (21), and Thato Mosetla (22) guilty of murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, malicious damage to property, and defeating the ends of justice.

Mbatha’s body was discovered in the boot of his torched Hyundai i20 at a soccer field in Klipgat, North West Province, in June 2021.

Because the popular 24-year-old had been burned beyond recognition, it took police more than six months to confirm the identity of the body through DNA testing, leaving his family in agonising suspense.

Investigations led the police to a house in Klipgat. In one of the bedrooms, investigators found bloodstains on the floor, under and on top of a bed as well as on the carpet. An axe suspected to have been used in the commission of the crime was found on the roof of the house.

It’s believed that one of the men who murdered Mbatha was involved in an intimate relationship with him.

Activists, including representatives of Access Chapter 2, attended Monday’s court hearing to demand justice for Sam Mbatha (Photo: Ac2)

Monday’s guilty verdict will come as a relief to Mbatha’s family who have endured seemingly never-ending delays in the case. They face, however, a further wait after the case was postponed to 25 and 26 July for sentencing.

Responding to the news of the verdict, family spokesperson Kgomotso Sepeng wrote on Facebook that “the process of justice has taken a positive direction.”

Two of the killers who were out on bail have been taken back into custody pending the outcome of the sentencing.

Access Chapter 2 (AC2), which has been diligently monitoring the case, welcomed the guilty verdict, describing it as “a huge step forward” in advancing equality and justice for the LGBTQI+ community.

“The verdict sends a powerful message that all crimes faced by the LGBTQI+ community can and will get the justice deserved,” Keneilwe Zulu, Head of Legal at AC2, told MambaOnline on Tuesday.

“It represents a long and difficult journey toward justice. For us, this is more than just a legal victory; it’s a sign that progress is possible, and that no matter how challenging the fight for equality may be, it is worth it,” Zulu added.

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