We're going to burn him again, community taunts mom of necklaced survivor

2015-09-23 07:04
(Mpho Raborife, News24)

(Mpho Raborife, News24)

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Johannesburg - The mother of the 25-year-old man who was set alight in Etwatwa, Daveyton in an apparent mob justice attack says she is scared for him to return home as she has been taunted by the community.

She said she had also witnessed the attack and saw how he was put into a tyre.

"I'm scared to have just anyone come and visit him here. I'm also scared for him to return home. When I speak to him about it, he doesn't seem to understand. It's as if he's angry and vengeful. You know how boys can be.

"I feel like selling that house and moving, because I am scared. When they see me walking in the street they say, "Look at her, luck must be on her side. Why did the others die and not hers? We're going to burn him again'."

An angry mob of Etwatwa community residents attacked the man on Thursday, believing he was one of the top leaders in the so-called OVL (One Vision Lover) gang. The identity of the woman and her son are being withheld for their safety.

Her son was one of four people who had been forced into a tyre and doused with petrol before being set alight. Three homes had also been destroyed allegedly by the same residents.

Members of the gang were allegedly being targeted by angry community members who were fed up with the lawless youths.

Some residents said the police were not doing enough to deal with the gang, prompting residents to take matters into their own hands.

Speaking while sitting at her son's hospital bed, she said although he was recovering, he was presently unable to walk due to his injuries.

When News24 visited the hospital on Tuesday, the man had visibly swollen eyes and the right side of his head, which was allegedly hacked with a panga during the ordeal on Thursday, was slowly healing with bits of hair growing back. Scabs covered most of his head wounds.

The man lay in his hospital bed, speaking in a hushed voice to his girlfriend who had come to visit him.

His mother told News24 her son had just returned from an operation on Monday where the boils under his feet were drained following the attack. He was still unable to walk and spent all his time in bed, she said.

His girlfriend tried to get him to sit upright but gave up when it appeared that he was in some pain. She occasionally gave him sips of some Banana flavoured Mageu as they talked.

'Family not safe'

The man's mother said although members of the SA police service and the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department have been patrolling the area since the incident occurred, she no longer felt her family was safe.

She has not seen nor heard from her second son, who is 19, since the incident. He ran away from home the same day of the attack, she said.

When asked whether her son was indeed a member of the OVL, she said she had never heard of it. She said her son worked at a car wash and helped her financially at home. She was unemployed. Her son was also a father to a one-year-old boy, she said.

"It was my first time hearing about this gang, I heard them saying [he] was in this gang. When I asked what OVL was, they told me it was a gang of people [who] go into people's homes causing havoc."

She said even if her son was a gang member or a naughty child, the community should have dealt with him in another way.

"As a mother, from the bottom of my heart, I won't deny that a child can be naughty but they didn't have to hurt him like this.

"They could have come as the community and spoken to him and disciplined him like a child or taken him to the police, not hurt him like this.

"I'm not trying to defend these kids, because I am not with them all the time. But when it gets to this, it's very painful."

She said the day her son was violently attacked, he had just left home and was walking towards his girlfriend's house which was just further down the street.

"There were two boys standing at the corner shop, looking at him. As soon as they turned the corner, they started whistling, and as soon as they started whistling all these people came out of nowhere."

'We are going to get him'

She said her son just carried on walking until he reached his girlfriend's home, somehow oblivious to the boys.

"Those people got to her house and pulled him out and started kicking him and told him they had been looking for him.

"I saw it all happening, when they turned the corner they said 'Sizomlanda [We are going to get him]" then I rushed to the house and called the police.

"They kept kicking him and put him inside that tyre. I didn't want to get any closer. I was feeling so much pain, even now when I think about what happened, it's painful.

"They kept saying, 'We want to kill you, we want to kill you. And we want to you to burn, we're not going to shoot you like we did with the others."

The medical staff at the hospital have told her that her son was going to remain in hospital for quite some time. She said as soon as he was discharged, she did not want him to return to their home in Etwatwa.

She had contemplated committing suicide but felt she could not leave her sons and grandson alone.

For now all she could do was comfort him and take care of his him until she decided on the next best move for her family, she said.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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