Suspected livestock thief fighting for his life after beating by community
A suspected livestock thief is fighting for his life in hospital after he was severely assaulted by community members in Machiding village near Siyabuswa in Mpumalanga on Tuesday morning.
According to an eyewitness‚ the 36-year-old man was accosted after it emerged that he was allegedly involved in a string of cattle disappearance in the semi-rural area.
Solomon Mahlangu said the man was assaulted by more than 50 people armed with sticks‚ steel pipes and rocks.
He said the livestock owners got a tip off that there were several cattle locked in his high-walled and gated homestead in the area.
“The livestock owners‚ who have had their cattle stolen‚ accosted him very early in the morning. He denied that he was involved but could not explain the cattle in his yard. He also has several trailers used to transport the cattle‚” he said.
Mahlangu said the man was assaulted and confessed to stealing cattle and pointed out his five accomplices.
He said the enraged livestock owners also discovered from the man that a truck had just left with stolen cattle destined for Hammanskraal‚ north of Pretoria‚ where they were to be sold.
Siyabuswa police spokesperson‚ Captain Zandi Gqowa confirmed the incident‚ saying the man was seriously injured.
She said as much as they appreciated help from community members in the fight against crime‚ they did not condone the livestock owners taking the law into their own hands.
“If they apprehend a suspect‚ they must not assault a suspect. They must call the police‚” Gqowa said.
She said police were investigating a case of assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm in connection with the incident but said no one had been arrested.