The Herald (South Africa)

Mob justice leaves two dead

- Raahil Sain

One man was set alight and another brutally beaten to death in two separate mob justice attacks in Gqeberha’s northern areas this week.

One of the incidents was filmed.

On the graphic clip that did the rounds, a man is seen cowering away from a group of residents, some of whom were beating him with sticks before burning him alive.

Yesterday, the family of the first mob-justice victim, Craig Newfelt, 29, held his memorial service.

He died of his injuries at Livingston­e Hospital after he was badly beaten by a mob on Monday.

His aunt, Frediline Campher, said people had wrongly accused Newfelt of stealing copper.

According to Campher, he was caught burning the copper and was attacked and beaten by a mob.

“I don’t agree with mob justice, I am a woman of God. Murder is what it is,” Campher said.

Police spokespers­on Colonel Priscilla Naidu said it was alleged that the community had severely beaten Newfelt at Ramaphosa Village in Salt Lake on Monday after they accused him of stealing cabling at a nearby scrapyard.

Naidu confirmed that he had died later and that no case of theft had been reported against him.

A 46-year-old man was arrested for his murder and is expected to appear in the city’s magistrate’s court today.

Naidu said more arrests were imminent.

In the second incident, a young man died after he was beaten and burnt by an angry mob in Missionval­e.

This incident was caught on camera.

In the clip, a group is seen throwing what appears to be petrol on him to fuel the burning flames.

The man had been accused of breaking into a house by angry residents.

Naidu said police were alerted to a body lying in Tromp Street near GG Grounds in Missionval­e on Wednesday.

They found the burnt corpse of an unidentifi­ed man aged between 18 and 20.

Naidu said the man had been taken from Joe Slovo on Tuesday evening after he was accused of housebreak­ing.

None of the attackers had been identified yet, she said.

Police warned communitie­s against jumping to conclusion­s without verifying the facts and taking the law into their own hands.

“If they are suspicious of any person committing any crime, they must inform the police who will do the necessary investigat­ion.

“Many times the community takes the law into their own hands and no cases are reported against the person they allege to be a suspect,” Naidu said.

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