Cops warn public over avenging two killings

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Police in KwaZulu-Natal have appealed to the public not to take the law into their own hands.

This follows two murders on New Year's Day - one at Umlazi township near Durban and the other at Umzinyathi near Inanda. Police have urged the public to work with them in finding the people responsible for both murders.

Yesterday, police launched a massive search for an Umlazi man who allegedly stabbed his neighbour to death. The man had suspected his neighbour of having broken into his house and stealing a DVD player.

The suspect allegedly stormed the victim's home on New Year's Day and accused him of being a thief.

Police spokesman Khephu Ndlovu said the suspect allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed the victim before fleeing the scene. "The man is nowhere to be found. Police have searched the whole township for him without luck," Ndlovu said.

He said the search for the man was continuing, and since he was a "well-known person in the area", there was a strong possibility someone would spot him and help apprehend him.

He said members of the community were very angry over the incident. However, tensions have eased and the locals have committed themselves to working with the police to find the suspect.

"We are working hand in hand with members of the community and are quite hopeful of making an arrest soon.

"We appeal to the community not to take law into their own hands should they come across the suspect," he said.

At Umzinyathi, an elderly woman suspected of practising witchcraft on her neighbour was killed, allegedly by members of community.

The woman was attacked at her home in the early hours of New Year's Day allegedly after receiving death threats. Police said some of the neighbours accused Thembelihle Mchunu of practising witchcraft on the neighbour's family for years.

She was assaulted and stabbed. She died at the scene.

Yesterday, police spokesman Vincent Mdunge said two men had been arrested in connection with the murder.

Mdunge said the arrests were meant to send out a strong message that people should not take the law into their own hands. He encouraged people to rather report offenders to the police.

Mdunge said the men would appear in court soon.