‘Mob justice victims terrorised community’
Limpopo community says the men were responsible for various crimes
Two alleged thieves were assaulted and thrown into a deep water hole
A Limpopo community says the men were responsible for various crimes, including theft of plasma TV screens
Police vow to deal harshly with perpetrators of mob justice
TWO suspected thieves who were severely assaulted and thrown into a water hole in an apparent case of mob justice have been described by locals in Limpopo as feared criminals responsible for a string of house breakings and the theft of plasma TV screens.
Locals in Moletjie outside Polokwane said the men have been terrorising the community for far too long, by committing all manner of crimes to feed their nyaope addiction.
This comes after community members assaulted the “thugs” at Diteteng Village before they were rescued by the police and paramedics in a deep water hole. The bloodied men, from the nearby Ga-Mabilwane Village, were rushed to an undisclosed hospital for medical treatment last week.
When African Times visited the area on Monday, spine-chilling tales of radicalism were echoed among residents of Ga-Mabilwane who described the men as barbarians who have launched a reign of terror with impunity.
However, even though some were willing to shed some light, no one was at ease to talk about the men for fear of intimidation.
Upon arrival at the headwoman’s house, she too was reluctant to do the interview but managed to summon her subjects who promptly responded to the siren.
It was clear as daylight that even grown men and women were scared of these two boys.
They refused to divulge their name and even claimed that they don’t know anything regarding the harrowing event even though the incident is widely known.
However, one middle-age woman, who opted to speak on condition of anonymity, begun by asking a rhetorical question: “Who does not fear those two rascals? They have been harassing people for way too long and they know no one can challenge them. They are armed and harmful.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Brian Meso at a local drinking joint who said, “We suspect that these guys have been stealing Plasma television sets. Word has it that there is a powder inside the TV which they mix it with nyaope and smoke it. They are known thugs and I tell you, nobody wants to talk about their criminal deeds. They are capable of committing even the heinous crimes you could ever imagine. It’s just a pity that this time around they met people who didn’t fear them.”
Police say people who participate in rampant mobs acts are trying to turn Limpopo into a banana province by resorting to violence. This by assaulting and killing people suspected of crime, including the destruction of properties belonging to suspects.
Despite stern warning and condemnation of these violent acts, community members remain resolute that they will deal harshly with criminals.
A member of the Community Policing Forum (CPF) in Blood River outside Seshego, Albert Masingi said, “As CPF, our duty is to broker harmony between our respective communities and the police. However, we often find ourselves between two extreme situations when people in our neighbourhoods say they have lost confidence in the police service, effectively taking the law into their own hands. Truth is: crime has spiralled out of control and police sometimes have their hands full.”
Spokesperson for the Limpopo provincial police, Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo says, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the seemingly persistent incidents of mob justice that have become prevalent in some parts of the province. We are appealing to community members to report crime instead of taking the law into their own hands as such acts of mob justice also make them criminals.”
Mojapelo could not disclose the name of the hospital were the assaulted men were taken to for medical treatment, saying, “We cannot divulge their whereabouts as we fear that the people who assaulted them can go to the hospital to finish where they have left off.”
In a statement earlier, Mojapelo said: “In what could be regarded as the most inhumane and barbaric incident, the community of Moletjie Diteteng spotted two men from the adjacent village of ga-Mabiloane roaming the streets in the company of a person they suspected of being responsible for the spate of thefts of Plasma TV screens in their area and started mobilizing. They then grabbed the two men, started severely assaulting them and later threw them into old water deep (hole) that was used to supply water to the local community. The police were alerted and reacted swiftly and on arrival, the two victims could still be spotted from the deep hole
He warned that perpetrators of vigilantism and mob justice” will be dealt with mercilessly”.