The death of a man accused of being a drug dealer and interrogated while recording a popular anti-drug TV show, hosted by Xolani Khumalo has sparked outrage.
According to City Press, Robert ‘Kicks’ Varrie was proclaimed dead after being interrogated during the filming of Sizokuthola and then dropped off at the Thelle Mogoerane regional hospital in Vosloorus last week.
The police and a spokeswoman for the show, which airs on Sundays under the banner of Moja LOVE, have both confirmed the incident.
In response to a media report that implicated the popular show’s host Xolani Khumalo in the “mysterious death,” Moja LOVE spokesperson Nonzwakazi Cekete stated that they were busy investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a man identified as a suspected drug dealer who died after filming Sizokuthola.
She stated that the crew was present at a drug bust in Katlehong township last Wednesday. They had partnered with “police-recognized community law enforcement groups” and were acting on “credible and verifiable information.”
Varrie initially resisted arrest, according to Cekete, but later consented to turn over drugs in his possession.
“While Moja LOVE can confirm that the crew was in the vicinity of the premises while the deceased was being questioned, the channel is still investigating the circumstances that led to the deceased having to allegedly be rushed to hospital. We will wait for the official autopsy results for the cause of death,” she said.
She said the show works with law enforcement agencies and was co-operating with authorities.
Khumalo rose to fame as the face of Sizokuthola, an anti-drug show that debuted on DStv channel 157 in January of this year. It’s a reality show in which he goes after alleged drug dealers.
A murder investigation was initiated at Vosloorus police station and moved to Katlehong North police station, according to the police. According to Mavela Masondo, the spokesperson, no arrests have been made.
Varrie’s partner told City Press that the Sizokuthola crew and armed men wearing masks were holding him down. She recognised the men as Gauteng Patrollers, also known as amapanyaza in the community. She said that her partner was suffocated and pepper-sprayed.
Cekete stated that Moja LOVE has sent condolences to the family.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT: pic.twitter.com/rBclPYOtiZ
— MojaLoveTv DStv Channel 157 (@MojaLoveTv) July 23, 2023