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Tied to a tree and sjambokked: Condemnation of mob justice killing

Police were called to the scene in Itireleng informal settlement just before midnight on Sunday, where they found four men had been shot dead. Others were wounded and taken to nearby hospitals.
Police were called to the scene in Itireleng informal settlement just before midnight on Sunday, where they found four men had been shot dead. Others were wounded and taken to nearby hospitals.
Image: PAUL FLEET/123RF

The SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) has condemned vigilantism, describing it as a barbaric, horrendous act that undermines the rule of law.

This follows a fatal mob attack on a 33-year-old man in Letlhabile outside Brits on Sunday after community members accused him of stealing electric cables.

It is alleged that he was at home asleep at 2am when a group of people forcefully entered his house, abducted him, tied him to a tree and assaulted him with sjamboks and sticks.

The victim’s son was summoned to fetch his seriously injured father by one of the suspects, but the man was certified dead when police and paramedics arrived.

Police arrested three men for kidnapping and murder the next day. The trio, aged 25, 39 and 41m were remanded after a brief court appearance, pending their next appearance on Monday, said North West police spokesperson Lt-Col Amanda Funani.

Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Sello Kwena urged members of the community to refrain from taking the law into their own hands and to instead work with the police.

Sanco provincial chairperson Paul Sebegoe echoed this, saying: “We urge communities to report crime to authorities in the criminal justice system instead of taking the law into their own hands as vigilantism has a distinctive potential to lead to lawlessness as well as a vicious cycle of violence.”

Sebegoe added action needs to be taken to restore the confidence of communities in accountable and democratic community policing to address increasing mob justice incidents.

“Quicker police response to distress calls, increased visibility and regular investigation progress updates to crime victims will contribute towards restoring confidence in the criminal justice system and creating safer communities.”

He also urged crime prevention structures to work with the business sector, police, churches, faith-based and other non-government organisations active within communities to combat crime.

TimesLIVE

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