Vigilantes kill the wrong man

2011-11-02 00:00

COMMUNITY members in Peace Valley have murdered an “innocent” 17-year-old boy that was walking to work as they accused him of rape.

Bheki “Mabhekeni” Njokwe from Mpumuza in the greader Edendale area, did not get to his workplace last week Wednesday as he was attacked and killed by a group of vigilantes.

Njokwe was a mechanic at Dusale Garage. His aunt, Hloniphile Njokwe, said the information received by the family is that Njokwe was confronted by a group of angry community members at around 9:00 am when he was walking on the railway line. They accused him of rape.

When he said he did not know what they were talking about, they started assaulting him, but he managed to run away.

He then ran to the river in an attempt to save his life, but the group followed him and dragged him out of the river. They used bush knives to assault him. He died on the scene.

Nokuthula Ntombele, another one of Njokwe’s aunts, who was at the home when The Witness visited, said the family is still disturbed by this incident. She described Njokwe as a loving person that liked peace.

“He was a child full of life and jokes as he would make everyone here at home laugh. He loved to go to church and he was a peacemaker.

“We were expecting a lot from him as he was a loving boy who contributed a lot in the family” said Ntombela.

A community member from Peace Valley, who did not want to be named, said they are living in fear as they had submitted the names of the people who attacked the young man.

Area councillor Dumsani Phungula said he condemns mob justice and vigilantism, urging community members to utilise the services of the community policing forum.

“This is not a banana republic, but it’s a constitutional state. We are encouraging the community to come forward with the information that will help police to apprehend the people that attacked the young man,” said Phungula.

Police at KwaZulu-Natal media centre had not responded to questions by the time of going to print.

Institute for Security Studies senior researcher Johan Burger said the community should also know that they will be charged for murder.

“Killing a person doesn’t solve the problem. With mob justice the chances are that an innocent person will be attacked — no questions asked no fair trial for him to give his side of the story.

“Community members taking the law into their own hands will be charged for murder even if the person is guilty” said Burger.

He added that communities should be helping the police in fighting crime in the form of handing over the perpetrators.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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