cop station besieged

ANGRY residents of Diyeni, near the Manyeleti game reserve in Mpumalanga, literally lifted up a police van at the gate of Mhala police station, demanding the release of four people accused of assaulting a woman whose husband is implicated in murder.

The community members blocked the Mhala police station gate, making it almost impossible for a police van transporting the four from the nearby Mhala magistrate's court.

But Mhala police were to drive in armed to the teeth and used live ammunition to fire warning shots to disperse the crowd. A police vanhad to speed off as protesters started pelting it with stones.

"We want to burn the police station, period," said one protester.

Diyeni Induna Shadrack Mlambo, Mboni Mathebula, Peter Mabakane and Ranale Khoza were arrested after allegedly assaulting Lizzy Mathebula.

Mlambo, whose case was provisionally withdrawn, said: "The woman we are accused of assaulting had information about her husband, who had killed a person in the village.

"Angry community members assaulted her for hiding information."

The other three were granted bail of R2000 each pending their next court appearance on September 1.

"I think the police should arrest the murderer instead of us," said Mlambo.

Mhala police spokesperson Inspector Robert Makhubele said the police would not allow lawlessness.

In an unrelated incident, angry Mashishing township residents burned the house of a senior government official on Sunday night after accusing the official of being friends with Clara Ndlovu, the embattled Thaba Chweu executive mayor.