20 June 2019

South Africa: Homeless Killings - Nobody Knew His Name, but He Was Friendly, Kept to Himself, Says Magnolia Park Community About One Victim

Photo: Pixabay
(file photo).

While little is known about the five homeless men who have been murdered in the Muckleneuk area in Tshwane since the beginning of June, one of the victims has been described as a friendly man who mostly kept to himself.

Nobody knows his name, where he came from, or how old he was, but the homeless man whose body was discovered in Magnolia Park on June 8 had been living there for over a year.

He was known to the people who worked to upkeep the park, car guards in the parking lot and staff at Huckleberry's restaurant in Magnolia Park.

Several people told News24 that while the homeless man frequently acted "strangely", he was a quiet, non-violent man who eventually became a familiar and friendly face in the park.

The manager of Huckleberry's, Chris Letswalo, said when the man first appeared in the park almost a year ago, they tried to chase him away, fearing that he might harass patrons at the restaurant, but he soon realised the homeless man meant no harm.

"On two occasions, we tried chasing him away, but he didn't respond to us, he was acting like he was deaf, only to find out [later] that he was very friendly," Letswalo said.

He was friendly, meant no harm

He added that while the man was friendly, he behaved strangely.

He would go out each day to collect rubbish, place it in a big plastic bag, only to bring it back to the park and dump the rubbish in the same area where he slept at night.

"There would be rubbish all over, we would go and clean up but the next morning he would go out and do the same thing."

Letswalo said because the man was not a threat and very friendly, they tolerated his strange habit of dumping rubbish in the park, and just made sure to clean the area every morning.

In the year that the man called Magnolia Park home, he never harassed anybody and only kept to himself.

The minor interaction he did have with people was with the car guards in the parking lot.

Two car guards, who did not want to be named, said the homeless man would come to the parking lot every day in search of cigarette butts.

Strange behaviour

They added that the man also exhibited strange behaviour, hardly saying a word when he was in the parking lot.

"[He] wouldn't even spend five minutes with us, sometimes you would offer him a cigarette he would refuse to take it and rather pick up stompies from the ground," one car guard said.

A street vendor in the area, who also did not want to be named, said he was there on the day that the man's body was discovered, and that he immediately recognised him as one of the guys who was living in the park at the time.

He described the man as someone who was "not entirely there" mentally but would keep to himself and never caused any problems.

He said since the murders, fewer homeless people have been sleeping in the park, and that many of them were scared, because they do not know why they are being targeted and they do not know who will be targeted next.

Several homeless people told News24 that they were petrified and have resorted to sleeping in groups in the hope that they would not be targeted.

Fifth body found

On Wednesday morning, the police confirmed that a fifth body had been discovered at a bus stop near Unisa's main campus in Muckleneuk.

By Wednesday evening, the police said, based on information received from two witnesses, they had ascertained the suspected nocturnal prowler (as police have taken to calling the suspect) wore a balaclava during the attacks, which occurred while the victims were asleep. They also found that the suspect had acted alone.

The first body was found almost three weeks ago in a veld near the Mears Park train station. Two more were found in Magnolia Park on June 8 and 9 and a fourth was found on a pavement on the corner of Justice Mohammed and Troye streets on Tuesday.

All five victims were found in different parts of Muckleneuk.

Police have confirmed that the five were homeless middle-aged males.

Source: News24

More on This

Task Team to Investigate Murders of Homeless Persons

Gauteng police have set up a task team to investigate a spate of murders of homeless people in Pretoria. Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: News24Wire

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.