Father dies in family row over soccer and religion

A SOUTH African man who argued with his family over whether they should watch a World Cup match or a religious show on television…

A SOUTH African man who argued with his family over whether they should watch a World Cup match or a religious show on television last Sunday was allegedly beaten to death during the row, police said yesterday.

David Makoeya (61) wanted to watch Germany take on Australia in the opening round of World Cup games, but his wife and two adult children were more keen on a religious programme featuring gospel music.

The family launched into a heated argument over the remote control at their home in Makweya village, Limpopo province, but the disagreement got out of control when the father tried to assert his authority on the situation, police spokesman Mothemane Malefo said.

Mr Makoeya tried to change the TV channel by hand after being refused the remote control, Insp Malefo said, but his actions drew a violent response from his wife Francina (68), son Collin (36) and daughter Lebogang (23).

“It appears they banged his head against the wall,” the inspector said about the family argument taking a turn for the worse. “They phoned the police only after he was badly injured, but by the time the police arrived, the man was already dead.”

The three family members appeared at a special court yesterday for the first time since their arrest on Sunday night. The court heard that Mr Makoeya had been stabbed in the back and suffered severe head injuries.

The accused were granted bail of R1,500 each (€150), and their case was postponed until July 27th.

The accused daughter has taken up her bail option, but her mother and brother remain in custody.

In another court in Pretoria, Nigerian Kunle Benjamin was sentenced to three years in prison for being in possession of 30 stolen match tickets when stopped in his car by police who said he was driving erratically. “As the suspect was acting suspiciously, police decided to search him and the 30 tickets were discovered,” said police spokeswoman Sally de Beer.

South Africa’s Mail Guardian newspaper has reported that police are investigating rival security companies that lost out during the tender process for the World Cup and whether they were involved in organising wildcat strikes by security stewards at stadiums this week.

Security was thrown into disarray when stewards at stadiums in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban downed tools on match days, claiming they were only being paid a fraction of what they had been promised.

The strikes, which led to the dismissal of many workers, have meant that police had to take over operations from security company Stallion at four stadiums. Fifa has refused to address questions from the media about the stewards’ strike since last Tuesday.

It has been reported that the cost of having South Africa’s police force step into the breach could cost the government more than €10 million, even though Fifa and the local organising committees are responsible for security at match venues.