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A woman was held hostage by about 50 residents at KaBokweni, near White River, after she allegedly swindled them of their money in exchange for jobs.
The incident happened in full view of shoppers at the busy KaBokweni shopping complex on Tuesday afternoon.
Police were called to the scene and saved the woman from the angry crowd and whisked her away.
The police warned the hostage takers against taking the law into their own hands.
"The woman was taken away for her safety but released because the people who claimed she took their money were not prepared to lay charges against her," said Captain Leonard Hlathi yesterday.
He said police would, however, arrest the woman if anyone laid charges against her.
This was the second incident of its kind where a woman was accused of swindling people under the pretext of getting them jobs.
Ntokozo Mathebula, 23, was arrested on February 20 after 10 people laid charges against her, accusing her of taking their money and promising them jobs at Transnet, where she claimed she worked in the human resources section.
Mathebula appeared in the KaBokweni magistrate's court on Monday. She was denied bail and her case was postponed to March 16 for trial.