Zimbabwean 43-year-old gardener, Elvis Nyathi, who was stoned and burnt to death in Diepsloot, north of Johanessburg, is now a hero in Zimbabwe after the government accorded him a state-assisted funeral.
The announcement comes amid fears of escalating tensions in South Africa where some locals are demanding the deportation of all undocumented foreigners they claim are committing serious crimes and grabbing most jobs in the country.
In a statement, Zimbabwe’s Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, said, “The remains of the late departed are expected in the country at the weekend.”
Sibanda could not give details of the funeral package with indications that the government would provide a casket for the burial of the slain immigrant, transport and food.
Nyathi was attacked by a vigilante group, which was looking for suspected criminals in Johannesburg’s Diepsloot township last week.
His assailants set him on fire with gasoline and vehicle tyres.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned the killing of the Zimbabwean and general violence targeted at foreigners.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s representatives based in Johannesburg say some Zimbabweans have died in devastating floods that hit KwaZulu Natal and Durban.
According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, at least four Zimbabweans have reportedly died in the floods that have killed almost 300 people.
A memorial service will be held at the Hillbrow Theatre on Thursday afternoon for Nyathi.
The family of Elvis Banajo Mbodazwe Nyathi, 43, will then transport his remains to Bulawayo in Zimbabwe on Friday and finally to his rural home in the Matobo District in Matabeleland South province for burial.
In a statement, the Nyathi family said they were inviting everyone who knew the deceased father of four or wanted to show solidarity to the memorial service.
His cousin and family spokesperson, Mphathisi Ndlovu, thanked the public for helping the family to raise funds for the repatriation of the body back to Zimbabwe.
However, he warned that some people were taking advantage of the situation by collecting money for their personal gain.
“We have been receiving messages about people fundraising in the name of our son. We didn’t ask for what we are facing. We are in our darkest hour. People should verify the accounts they are sending money to and also desist from making a mockery of an unfortunate situation,” he said.