Mob accuse man, kill him

2011-12-12 00:00

A FAMILY in Gibson’s Gate in Vulindela want answers about why the police did not protect their 30-year-old relative when a mob killed him in their presence yesterday.

A number of people in the Emasimini area of kwaSongonzima in Vulindlela allegedly overpowered police and killed Sikhumbuzo Kheswa on suspicion that he had raped two children.

The mob reportedly pulled Kheswa out of a moving police van and stoned him to death. Police tried in vain to use pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

Kheswa’s girlfriend, Fisani Madlala, said a group of men came to their home at 6 am.

Later she heard them arguing on the road. “They said he was wanted for raping two children in the area on Saturday last week. One of them said he is the father of the one child,” said an emotional Madlala.

Madlala, the mother of two of Kheswa’s children said it will be difficult for her to raise them without their father.

A source close to the families of the children said rape cases were opened last week at Taylor’s Halt police station. But because the police had allegedly not done anything, a group of residents decided to help in apprehending the suspect.

“We wanted him to be handed over to the police. But I am told that they went to his girlfriend’s house where he stays. They wanted him to be handed over to the police and they called the police.”

While waiting for the police the accused apparently asked that the children be called so that they could identify the rapist. When the children arrived they apparently pointed to him and Kheswa tried to run away. The crowd attacked him with stones, said the source.

When The Witness arrived at the scene, Kheswa’s body was still there.

Some people, who said they arrived after he was killed, blamed his death on police “negligence”.

Another bystander, who did not want to be named, said the crowd ran for their lives when the police van came, but when police took Kheswa away more people emerged out of nowhere. They opened the back door of the van, pulled Kheswa out and stoned him to death, the bystander said.

Kheswa’s sister, Balungile Memela, said she was called from her home and told that her brother had been attacked.

“I was told that police handed him over to the community. Is it because these police were asked by the families of the children to do that, or are they taking sides as they are from this area? This is painful and we want to know why they did that,” said Memela in disbelief.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge denied Kheswa’s death was a case of mob justice. He said it was rather a revenge killing involving two groups, one of which suspected Kheswa of murdering the friend of two men who were later arrested.

Mdunge said he is not aware of the rape cases that were allegedly opened.

He also said the police arrived after Kheswa had been killed, but people at the scene denied this.

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