Six executed in vigilante attacks over rising crime

Surprise Mlimi, 43, was brutally assaulted and his house burnt after Isabella Gumbi disappeared.
Surprise Mlimi, 43, was brutally assaulted and his house burnt after Isabella Gumbi disappeared.
Image: STOCK

At least six people have been murdered in a Mpumalanga village in three weeks after mobs accused them of various crimes in the area.

The community of Masoyi, near Hazyview, told Sowetan they had taken the law into their own hands because police were not dealing with crime in the area.

The latest killing occurred on Tuesday following the alleged disappearance of an 18-year-old girl.

Surprise Mlimi, 43, was brutally assaulted and his house burnt after Isabella Gumbi, from Mozambique, disappeared. They alleged that the man, also from Mozambique, was the last person to be seen with her.

According to police, Mlimi told them he had been with Gumbi on May 4 but said he accompanied her to the Nelspruit taxi rank where she boarded a taxi to Johannesburg.

Police have since acquired information to corroborate Mlimi's version. But it was too late for him as he died on arrival at Themba Hospital in Kabokweni, after a severe beating by the community.

"We received information that a man was being assaulted by the community accusing him of being responsible for the disappearance of the 18-year-old girl," Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brig Leonard Hlathi said.

"On our arrival, we rescued the man and before he died, he told us that he accompanied the girl to the taxi rank where she took a taxi to Johannesburg. Our preliminary investigation are that indeed the girl took a taxi to Johannesburg."

He said passenger register at the rank also listed Gumbi for the ride to Johannesburg.

Last week, two men accused of robbing bakery delivery vans were burnt alive in Masoyi.

Two weeks ago, a local pastor an his nephew were killed after they were accused of raping and killing two little girls.

Siblings Slindile and Ntokozo Mdluli went missing and their tiny bodies were found dumped in a field.

The men were tied, beaten and set alight in a house.

In another attack recently, a man accused of raping a woman was beaten to death.

"This is out of order, we always tell the public to work with us and not to take the law into their own hands.

"We are investigating and content that arrests are eminent," Hlathi said.

Community members who spoke to Sowetan are divided on mob justice.

Themba Shongwe told Sowetan that he's very scared because if someone "hates you in Masoyi you are bound to be killed by the community".

"Remember some of the people who have been killed were pointed out by a sangoma and we don't know if what the sangoma said it true or not," Shongwe said.

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