Vigilantes fatally beat man

2012-06-01 00:00

AFTER police arrested suspects following the fatal assault on a man, a group of angry vigilantes conducted a house-to-house search for “criminals and drug dealers” in Cinderella Park near Eastwood yesterday.

The deceased was killed by community members in the early hours of yesterday morning after he was allegedly caught breaking into a house.

He is known only as Bongani.

Mandla Shangase, chairperson of the Cinderella Park community policing forum, said Bongani had been caught breaking into a house where he stole a cellphone.

“He was caught by the community members and was severely assaulted; he died at the scene,” said Shangase.

His friend, named JoJo, a suspected drug dealer, was also caught in the evening and handed over to the police by the angry community members. Bongani was not from the area, but had been visiting from the Willowfountain area.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said Bongani had not yet been fully identified.

Shangase said the community decided to form a posse after they were angered by the arrest of five men from the area in connection with the murder. “They had blood spatters on their clothes and the police thought they were responsible and so they arrested them. In the evening, the community gathered and decided to rid itself of the criminals and drug dealers by chasing them out of the area,” he said.

A large group of predominantly young men and women moved from house to house last night looking for people they suspected of criminal activity and dealing in drugs.

“Many residents complained that the drugs were destroying the area.

“These are the people who attack and rob us when they are on drugs,” screamed one person.

Shangase said: “The community confronted JoJo because he is suspected of dealing in drugs; he pointed us to other people who deal in drugs. We did not want the community to kill someone else again so we called the police to take him.”

Among those fingered for selling drugs was another man named Nkosi. Pleading for his life he denied that he was a drug dealer.

“Yes I do admit that I sell booze and weed [dagga], I do that to earn a living because I do not work.

“This issue of selling drugs, I know nothing about it; this guy who said this is trying set me up because me and him do not see eye to eye,” he said. Shangase told The Witness last night that the community was fed up with the high crime rate and the drug dealers.

“There is a crime problem in this area and we are trying to fight it.”

• thamsanqam@witness.co.za

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