Two men, aged 34 and 61, will be remanded in custody pending their bail application on charges of being in possession of suspected stolen property and the murder of a “beloved” local waiter in Claremont, Raynold Mutasa (37), on Thursday 24 August.
According to Claremont police’s Vispol Commander Lt Col Marnus Fourie, the two suspects did not plead when they appeared in the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court on Monday 28 August, pending consultations with their legal representatives.
They will next appear on Tuesday 12 September.
Meantime, the local restaurant where Matusa, a Zimbabwean national, served as a waiter in Newlands for more than two years, has launched a fundraiser to return his remains to his family in Zimbabwe.
His employer and manager of Mama Roma, Christina Gorrini, agreed he had enjoyed widespread popularity and attested to sadness surrounding his death and the manner in which he died, characterising him as “a big teddy bear”. “Ray’s warm presence and kind spirit touched the lives of everyone he encountered,” she said. “He was a pillar of kindness and charm […] he never fought with anybody and was simply a wonderful person.”
He is survived by his 10-year-old son, a sister and brother, all of whom live on the other side of the border.
Matusa’s employer left a message on his passing on Facebook.
Gorrini told People’s Post donations from clients and locals were streaming in to support his funeral arrangements and family back home. “We will definitely send him back,” Gorrini vowed, “but we would need at least about R33 000, but we aim to raise R50 000 to give extra support to the family.”
She explained sending a body across the border is an expensive undertaking, considering that Matusa’s remains needed to be embalmed, kept in a sealed steel coffin and transported over thousands of kilometres.
This mournful pursuit follows the dark and dangerous morning when Matusa encountered the two men charged for his murder on Thursday 24 August.
The two accused allegedly approached him before dusk as he was returning to his flat in Frederick Road.
As previously published, Fourie detailed the events that led to local security forces’ suspicions being aroused when Matusa’s assailants were seen wearing the well-known waiter’s jacket around 02:25. “The security immediately became suspicious when two men were carrying a jacket that looked exactly like the one the Zimbabwean national was wearing earlier,” he said. Claremont Improvement District Corporation (CIDC) security was called to assist. They found the two suspects on the corner of Dreyer and Warwick roads. They could not explain where they had acquired the jacket.
Fourie said this led to their being searched, at which time a watch with a broken strap, a silver chain and cellphone were also found in the possession of the suspects. “The CIDC also tried to find the Zimbabwean national to learn how his jacket had come into the possession of the two men, but he could not be found.”
Following daybreak, Fourie added, security from the Vineyard Hotel in Frederick Road discovered Matusa’s body before a block of flats in the same road.
Footing the bill for Matusa’s return to Zimbabwe for burial, Gorrini said anyone willing to make a donation was welcome to visit her restaurant.