Mob batters ‘suspect’ to death

2012-10-08 00:00

RESIDENTS of Imbali unit BB yesterday beat and stoned to death a man they believed had killed a young woman whose body was found in the area last week.

The Witness reported that Nonkululeko Zungu’s body was found outside her neighbour’s house on Thursday after she had been missing for days.

Yesterday, scores of locals beat and stoned a man before shoving him into a storm water drain a few blocks from Zungu’s home.

Police search and rescue unit officers had to remove two rocks before using a rope to pull the body out.

Residents cheered, ululated and clapped as the officers removed the body from the drain.

The man was clad in black pants and left with only one shoe; his face covered in blood.

“He is a rapist,” someone shouted.

“He killed such an innocent girl,” another said.

According to locals, who would not be named for fear of being attacked, the community was collecting money for petrol to burn the body when the police arrived at the scene.

A witness to the attack said the slain man cried out: “It wasn’t me”, as the mob beat him.

Apparently, he was dropped off from a red vehicle, already bleeding, and handed to the community.

“They used everything you could think of to batter him — bricks, fists, bottles. They even threw stones at him. The mob was chanting, ‘ayife inja’ [let the dog die],” a woman said.

She said those who had been involved in the murder quickly went to change their clothes when the police arrived on the scene.

Another witness, who said she had called the police, said the incident had happened fast.

“It was chaos. You couldn’t see him because of the group that surrounded him.”

K9 search and rescue unit officer Jack Haskins said it was difficult to remove the body from the drain because of the confined space they had to work in.

Provincial police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said the man was suspected to have killed “someone”.

He condemned the community’s actions.

“The people that killed this man now have a murder case and we have to arrest them. Residents should have handed the man to the police,” he added.

At the time of going to press, the man’s identity was still unknown and no arrests had been made in connection with his murder.

Zungu’s uncle, Mandla Zungu, said the family were still dealing with her death. He said he had learnt that locals had conducted their own investigation into her murder and identified the dead man as her attacker.

She will be buried on Saturday.

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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