‘Mob justice’ victim tells court three accused not among attackers

2013-11-01 00:00

A VICTIM of “mob justice” meted out in Mpophomeni township last year told a magistrate this week that he couldn’t identify his assailants.

However, he denied that the attackers included the three accused before court, whom he described as “kind gentlemen”.

Seventeen-year-old Sethembe Dlamini testified in open court before regional court Magistrate Rose Mog­wera in the assault and murder trial of Siyabonga Dlamini (31), Vusi Dlamini (34) and Siyabonga Mputhini (27).

The state alleges that Sethembe and Andile Sokhela were both severely beaten in a vigilante attack, as a result of which Sokhela died.

Sethembe testified that he and Sokhela were beaten and taken to the police station. “I felt like vomiting and I went out and vomited. When I came back, I heard Andile had passed away.”

Sethembe said he did not recognise any of the 100 or more assailants who used sjamboks, belts and open hands to beat him and Sokhela.

He said he was tied to a pole and water was poured over him at one point.

He passed out eventually and “woke up in the police station”.

Sethembe said his assailants accused him of “being a member of the 28s” — a criminal gang.

“They said we are the ones who are stabbing people and robbing them … myself and Andile. They said I must go and point out Andile … I had no choice,” he said.

Another state witness, Sibusiso Mbhele, Sokhela’s brother, told the court that all three accused were present during the assaults. He testified yesterday that Vusi Dlamini had motivated the crowd to assault the victims by making comments such as that they were there to “set an example”.

He said he saw Mputhini pouring water over Sokhela before the crowd continued to assault him with sticks.

“I think the reason for the water is that when the body is cold, you feel the pain more than when the body is warm,” he said.

It was suggested to him by defence lawyer Simphiwe Ngwenya that Mputhini had poured water over Sokhela to try to revive him. He said all three denied any part in the assaults, and had intervened to help the youths.

The case has been adjourned to December 18.

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