The accused would also face a charge of defeating the ends of justice, after allegedly being uncooperative with police following the discovery of the body on Sunday morning.
Popoyi’s body was found with a number of stab wounds to his neck and chest at the corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue in Melville, while his chest appeared to have been hacked open.
Popoyi’s guardian Colin Law said the loss was enormous.
“Thulani was the father of a young boy… it’s just so terrible what happened,” said Law.
“What happened to him places the bigger picture under the spotlight of what is happening in the country. He was murdered in an unlicensed establishment in a good neighbourhood. Places like that should be shut down,” he added.
Local councillor Amanda Forsythe said she had been trying to shut down the establishment since last year, “because it was operating without a valid licence”.
“They were operating with a restaurant license that had a different name on it. When the place was raided last year, no food was found other than some lettuce in the fridge,” said Forsythe.
“The place is clearly a club, and needs an entertainment license to operate – which the owner does not have.”
Meanwhile, Pirates Rugby Club in Greenside’s senior chairman Brad Guymer confirmed that Popoyi had been playing for the club after representing the Lions at junior levels.
“We are all very upset about his death, it came as a great shock,” said Guymer.
“Thulani, whose position was wing, was such a great character, always cracking jokes. He will be missed.”