Viral video shows vigilantism, not xenophobia - police

2015-04-11 12:00
(Photo: Nielen de Klerk, News24)

(Photo: Nielen de Klerk, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - North West police said on Saturday a horrific video that has gone viral of a group of young men being necklaced and burnt alive in South Africa was in no way linked to xenophobic attacks and was not an attack on Zimbabweans as suggested on social media.

It was however, vigilantism in retaliation for a bar fight death in Sondela informal settlement in Rustenburg on 7 March.

"It has nothing to do with Durban and nothing to do with xenophobia," said Colonel Sabatha Mokgwabone, spokesperson for North West police.

"There is no way we can say the two are linked," he said, referring to attacks on foreign nationals in Durban this past week, the most recent being the petrol bombing of two Ethiopians in the container they used as a shop and sleeping quarters in Umlazi.

The shocking video was seized upon on social media on Saturday morning as evidence of the violence against foreign nationals this week as xenophobic tension in South Africa rises.

But the truth behind the footage is quite different. The video records an incident in Rustenburg in March and neither the victims, nor the alleged perpetrators are foreigners.

Sabatha said nobody seemed to pay much attention to police reports of the 7 March attack on the five youths in Sondela until public broadcaster SABC was given footage, and it went viral.

According to Mokgwabone, this is what is known by police of the events leading up to the attack on the five men, and what happened afterwards:

- On 7 March five youths were in a tavern in Sondela in Rustenburg and an argument started between them and a 30-year-old man.

- The fight was broken up and they were separated, but later, the five came across the 30-year-old man in the streets and started throwing stones at him and assaulting him with other "'instruments''.

- The 30-year-old man was taken to Tlhabane Clinic, but he was certified dead on arrival.

Durban police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane said on Saturday that while the video had not been brought to his attention, police monitoring  the tense situation south of Durban had received no such report of a similar incident in the past week, debunking the belief that it was related to xenophobic violence in Durban.

"We need to be careful about these things because videos like these can cause a panic. As of now we have no knowledge of this incident."

- Some people in the area heard about the attack on the 30-year-old and "took the law into their own hands" according to Mokgwabone.

- They were surrounded, assaulted and set alight.

- The police were called eventually and all five were taken to hospital.

- Four had severe burn wounds. The fifth was not seriously physically injured.

- Police did not charge them all at the time because they were were so severely injured.

- On 9 March, one of the five, a minor, died as a result of his injuries.

- On 10 March, another one of the five died.

- Two were still in hospital, to Mokgwapone's knowledge.

- The fifth person has been arrested and charged with the murder of the 30-year-old man they allegedly had the bar fight with. He has appeared in the Rustenburg Magistrate's Court between three to four times and will return to court on April 28.

- Police also arrested one person in connection with assaulting and setting the men alight. He has made several appearances in the Rustenburg Magistrate's Court to apply for bail and will return to court on May 5. His charges are attempted murder and murder.

- The five men who were assaulted and set alight are South African. To Mokgwabone's knowledge, one of the men was buried in the Eastern Cape.

- The 30-year-old who was assaulted and stoned to death was South African.

Brigadier Thulani Ngubane, also a North West police spokesperson, said he had already clarified this before.

Delinking the crime from xenophobia made it not better though, he said.

People had to stop resorting to "mob justice" and "kangaroo courts" and let the police handle any crimes or suspicion of a crime.

The police's investigation may make different conclusions to those reached by the crowd who attacked the youths, he said.

"There are mothers and fathers who really should have taken a step up and stopped it,"said Ngubane.
In the video one woman appears to be trying to intervene, but she steps back into the crowd.

Read more on:    rustenburg  |  xenophobia  |  mob violence

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
13 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.