Rival gang may have been behind Zandspruit mob justice: victim’s girlfriend

The group of Zandspruit men killed in a vigilante attack last month were perhaps killed by a rival group.
The group of Zandspruit men killed in a vigilante attack last month were perhaps killed by a rival group.
Image: Thulani Mbele

The girlfriend of one of eight men who were beaten and necklaced in Zandspruit, northwest of Johannesburg, last month says there may have been more behind the killings.

Speaking to eNCA’s Checkpoint on Tuesday, the woman — whose identity was concealed — suggested the attack may have been motivated by revenge from a rival group in the area.

They were treating them like animals. They still laugh about it on the streets
Girlfriend of man killed in Zandspruit attack 

She said her partner and the other men were not behind the terrible crimes of which they were accused.

“He would pickpocket someone’s phone just so we could eat,” she said. 

Community members who rounded up the group and took them to a stadium to kill them, had accused the men of terrorising the community.

When police minister Bheki Cele visited the area, community members said they had taken the law into their own hands because Honeydew police who service the area did not attend to their crime calls. 

The tearful woman wept as she recalled how her boyfriend and the others died.

“They were treating them like animals. They still laugh about it on the streets,” she said.

In a videoclip taken at the scene, one bystander can be heard nonchalantly referring to the burnt men as “fried chicken”.

“It’s as if they just wanted them dead,” the woman said, adding that she feared for her own life. 

Six people were arrested for the mob justice attack and have appeared in the Roodepoort magistrate’s court. They were charged with kidnapping, attempted murder and murder.

Their case was postponed to June 9 as police were yet to hold an identity parade.

One of the men attacked by the community survived the attack. He was reported to be in hospital recovering from his injuries.

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