‘Justice’ turns violent in village where community is angry about thefts
A man has been killed and another assaulted in the North West, where a community has complained about a spate of housebreakings and robberies.
Police commissioner Lt-Gen Sello Kwena has condemned what appear to be mob justice incidents on Saturday in Segwaelane village, in the policing area of Mooinooi near Brits. A minibus was also torched.
TimesLIVE reported earlier this month that a gang of young men from the area were suspected to be behind break-ins at homes. One householder died in a botched robbery.
The community had started their own patrols to catch the robbers, and had made a citizen’s arrest of one suspect.
Police spokesperson Brig Sabata Mokgwabone said at the weekend that officers were summoned at about 11.40pm to a scene in Segwaelane village main road and on arrival found a man who had been severely assaulted.
“Despite being threatened, the police managed to successfully rescue the man and a woman from a group of people who had barricaded the road and were heavily armed with sticks, pangas and knobkerries.
“Due to the volatile situation, including the throwing of stones at the police, back-up was called. After the arrival of public order police with an armoured vehicle, officers proceeded to a Toyota Quantum minibus which was burning.
“They found the body of a male burnt beyond recognition in the minibus.”
Mokgwabone said the motive is yet to be determined “although unconfirmed reports suggest the victims are accused of several recent incidents of house robbery and house breakings committed in the village.”
Preliminary investigations revealed all the victims are residents of Bekkersdal, Gauteng.
Cases of murder, malicious damage to property and assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm have been opened for investigation. No arrests have been made.
Kwena said lawlessness and disrespect for the rule of law cannot be condoned.
He urged the public to refrain from unlawful acts, including taking the law into their own hands, and to report all suspected criminal activities to the police or to recognised and legal structures such as the community policing forum.