Residents say cops failed them

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The community of KwaHlathi in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, have vowed to stand by those accused of killing two "known thugs" .

The community says the accused acted "where police failed".

Last month Nkosingiphile Kunene, 25, and Sibusiso Gamede, 22, were murdered by angry residents who accused them of rape, stock theft and other crimes.

The men were beaten, stabbed and their bodies were cut up before being thrown into a nearby dam.

Those arrested are Sakhiseni Ndlovu, 19, Hlengiwe Khanyi, 24, Mondli Nkabinde, 48, Mhlayikelwa Mbatha, 53, Skumbuzo Kunene, 18, Lymon Zulu, 56, Thokozani Nkabinde, 41, Sizwe Khuzwayo, 23, Jabulani Thwala, 52, Thobeka Mokoena, 34, and Nkosinathi Hadebe, 37.

The suspects appeared in the Dundee magistrates' court last week and will appear again on Thursday. They are out on bail of between R1000 and R1500.

Angry residents said Kunene and Gamede had been terrorising the community for years while police "stood by and relaxed. Since the killings we have had peace."

Police spokesman Charmaine Struwig said "taking the law into your own hands is illegal".