The Acting Provincial Commissioner in Mpumalanga, Major General Thulani Phahla has raised his concern over the rising number of mob justice cases reported within a short period.
In a recent incident, police were summoned to Troya Farm near Ga-Matimpule Village in Vaalbank and on arrival, found a vehicle believed to be an Isuzu Club Cab with four human bodies inside burnt beyond recognition.
According to information reported, it is alleged that on Monday, 10 May 2021, four unknown men were seen stealing goats, loading them into a white bakkie when community members spotted and tried to intercept them. The men then reportedly fired shots at them during the commotion but they were eventually overpowered by the mob who in the process allegedly assaulted them before setting them alight inside their vehicle with an unknown registration number.
During the shooting, one of the community members was shot on his lower body and is currently in hospital receiving medical care.
Meanwhile, a 40-year-old man was rescued by police from an angry mob, for allegedly assaulting a 34-year-old woman on Sunday, 9 May 2021, at Magudu Trust near Tonga. The man was arrested the very same day and taken to Tonga Hospital under police guard, where he unfortunately succumbed to injuries.
In another incident, four suspects aged between 18 and 46, are expected to appear before the Kabokweni Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 13 May 2021, for bail application in a murder case. Their appearance emanates from an incident at which it is alleged that they brutally murdered a young man last week accusing him of stealing.
In Lydenburg last week also, five people were assaulted by community members, suspecting them of criminality and two men unfortunately died while three were hospitalised.
Major General Phahla strongly appeals to the community not to take the law into their own hands. He urges the community to report incidents of crime to the police or provide information through the relevant community structures. “Taking the law into your own hands is a crime which is punishable by law,” lamented General Phahla.