South Africa News

Man hands himself over to cops months after ‘accidental’ death of suspected robber


  • An Eastern Cape man who was believed to have fallen to his death may have been murdered.
  • Last week, a suspect handed himself over to police and confessed to assaulting the deceased man.
  • The man appeared in court and will apply for bail later this week.

A case of accidental death took an unexpected turn when a man turned himself over to police in the Eastern Cape and allegedly confessed to killing a suspected robber in February.

The suspected robber was initially thought to have fallen to his death after he reportedly slipped on a gravel road.

According to police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu, three people were working on a construction site in Keeton Road in Addo on 16 February at around 23:00. Because of bad weather, they were inside their vehicle when a man allegedly attempted to break in, seemingly unaware that there were people in the car, Naidu said.

When he saw them, he ran away, but they gave chase.

According to their statements at the time, they caught him and tried to put him into the back of their car, but he escaped and ran away. Although they chased after him again, he slipped and fell to his death.

READ | ‘Robber’ cop falls to death after being shot by fellow officers

He has since been identified, via fingerprint identification, as 24-year-old Givan van der Merwe. Because his next of kin could not be found and no missing persons report had been filed, he was given a pauper’s burial on 16 July.

Investigation took a twist

On 7 September, police managed to trace Van der Merwe’s family. They could not explain why he had not been reported missing.

But the investigation took a twist on Tuesday afternoon when a 30-year-old man handed himself over to police in Addo for the murder Van der Merwe. Emmanuel September, who was one of the vehicle’s occupants, confessed that he assaulted Van der Merwe after he caught him.

September appeared in the New Brighton Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on a charge of murder and defeating the ends of justice. He will remain in custody until 3 December, when he will apply for bail.

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