Police earn residents’ ire

2010-02-27 00:00

POLICE had to run the gauntlet of residents’ anger yesterday as they went after the vigilante killers of a murder and rape suspect in Caluza.

Plessislaer police raided the area at midnight on Thursday and arrested four men, shooting and wounding one suspect as he brandished a panga and tried to escape.

The arrests came days after Mongezi Ngcobo (19), who was accused by the community of raping and killing Nomathemba Zuma (26) on Sunday, was beaten to death by a mob.

Yesterday morning, residents marched from Caluza to the Plessislaer police station carrying derogatory placards and hurling insults at police. They accused the police of using heavy-handed tactics during their raid.

One resident said the police terrified residents, broke down doors and shot a man.

“The police came to our house at about 12 midnight yesterday (Thursday) looking for my son as he was a suspect in the murder,” said the mother of one of the arrested men. “They woke us up and searched through our home, but we told them he was not here and they eventually found him at his girlfriend’s house.”

The relatives of the man who was shot said they did not know why the police were looking for him because he had not even been part of the mob that killed Ngcobo.

“When they arrived at about midnight, the police knocked and he asked for a chance to get dressed, but instead they busted the door down and started firing shots in the house. At least three shots were fired.”

He said when the man panicked, pulled out his panga and tried to flee, “the police shot him in the back and the bullet came through his chest”.

The march almost deteriorated into violence when the residents who were being addressed by the station commissioner felt he was not being open with them and accused their representative of “selling them out”.

The police spokesperson Thulani Zwane said the crowd dispersed peacefully.

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