Reasons for mob attack of Hillbrow 'mugger'

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The man who was set alight in Hillbrow for attempting to rob a local had allegedly been arrested on several occasions on suspicion of street mugging.

Community members who took the law into their hands last week and attacked the alleged mugger told Sowetan police had released the suspect back onto the streets.

The man, who was only known as "Madala" on the streets, was doused with acid and thinners before being set alight in broad daylight. His alleged accomplice is still recovering in hospital after he was also severely assaulted.

The incident happened after the man had allegedly attempted to rob someone whose brother works as a mechanic at a nearby workshop.

Police could not, however, confirm that the man had been arrested before, stating his identity is yet to be determined.

Hillbrow residents alleged the man only spent a few hours in jail after his arrests.

Siyabonga Cele, a resident who knew the deceased, said he had allegedly robbed members of the public.

"He would get arrested in the morning and be out in the evening," Cele said.

He said "Madala" had attempted to rob a man of his cellphone on the corner of Esselen and Edith Cavell streets.

"He didn't know the guy he was trying to rob had a brother who works as a mechanic at a workshop around that part.

"The guy he was robbing called for his brother and he came with his colleagues. They doused him with some acid and burnt him," Cele said.

Blessing Gumede, the deceased's alleged accomplice, was severely assaulted.

Sowetan visited Gumede on Saturday, and found him with bruises across his body.

His sister Charmaine Gumede said she did not yet know the details which led to his assault.

A street patroller deployed in Johannesburg's CBD said crime levels in the area were aggravated by the fact that criminals were released from detention as a result of corruption by police.

"We don't know if they pay officers or what, but it's clear something underhanded is happening," the patroller said.

Gauteng community safety spokesperson Ofentse Morwane said a total of 150 patrollers were deployed in the Johannesburg CBD.

Police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele said 38 people were arrested in connection with "Madala's" murder and the attempted murder of the other alleged criminal.

WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT- A mob set a man alight in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, on January 15 2018 after he and an accomplice allegedly robbed a woman. Gauteng police spokesperson Kay Makhubela confirmed the incident and said a case of murder had been opened after the man later died from his injuries in hospital. No arrests have been made and police are investigating.

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