Pretoria News , 18 June 2008

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Three men and a woman accused of stoning and burning a Mozambican to death at the weekend have briefly appeared in the Atteridgeville magistrate's court on a charge of murder. Pheeha Petronelius Raphahlele, Nokwandu Gatya, Jeffrey Moyo and Mpho Phefane Rametsi, all South African residents from the Brazzaville informal settlement west of Atteridgeville, were arrested on Saturday after a mob attacked and killed Abraham Msimango (28). They appeared in court on Tuesday. Police earlier said they believed the incident was not related to xenophobia, but was rather a case of mob justice as the crowd alleged that Msimango had burnt down a shack the on Friday. His mother-in-law apparently warned him on Saturday that people were looking for him, and Msimango went to the police to report that he was being threatened. He asked them to accompany him home. Police spokesperson Captain Thomas Mufamadi earlier said Msimango went home and the police followed shortly afterwards. However, when the police arrived, Msimango was already dead. The officers had to call for back-up to disperse the angry crowd. The four accused on Tuesday all opted for legal aid after their rights were explained to them. The case was postponed to June 26 for further investigation and for the four to obtain legal representation. They will remain in custody until then. They might later also be charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances. Mufamadi earlier said R2 000 was taken from Msimango before he was killed.