Mob sets home of freed 'muthi' man on fire

ANGRY members of the community in Giyani took the law into their own hands by setting alight a house belonging to a man suspected of killing people for muthi purposes

The incident happened yesterday after the suspect's case was withdrawn by the Giyani magistrate's court for lack of evidence.

Tangiseni Mdau, 57, and his co-accused Lodrick Vha-vhali, 23, were arrested in December 2009 for allegedly killing Thokozile Maswanganyi.

They were arrested on allegations that they were involved in the killing of people for muthi.

Mdau was acquitted after awaiting trial for about year.

On hearing the news of the acquittal, residents of Nkurhi and Malonga set Mdau's house alight.

During the incident, two members of his family were assaulted by the mob.

The family members were later rescued by the police.

One of the victims, Muitshekwa Mutshavha-tshidi, said she had tried to call the police on several occasions to come to their rescue but to no avail. "I have since lost confidence in the police," she said.

Mutshavha-tshidi said police only arrived after the house had been torched.

"Had they arrived earlier, this would have been prevented," she said, crying.

Spokesperson for Vuwani police station, Warrant Officer Elijah Malatjie, said police had opened a case of malicious damage to property, common assault and arson.

"We are hoping to arrest more people since we managed to arrest three suspects," said Malatjie.

Those arrested were between the ages of 16 and 20. The damages caused by the fire is estimated at R375000, Malatjie said.

The fire destroyed eight rooms, including furniture and a bakkie which was in the garage.

Mdau and his family were taken to a place of safety by the police.