Police officer, wife at the centre of Durban man's mob justice murder

2018-03-20 21:53
SA police. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

SA police. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Durban – A man accused of stealing clothes at a police officer's house has been killed in a suspected mob justice attack in Sundwini, Folweni, south of Durban.

Nhlanhla Khwela, 26, was found dead in the area on Monday morning after he was taken away from his friend's home on Sunday night allegedly by the police officer, his wife and several community members.

His family now wants the officer and his wife to be investigated "because they were among the mob who allegedly fatally assaulted him".

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane told News24 on Tuesday that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate had been informed about the case.

"The matter is still under investigation and no arrest has been made," he added.

The Khwelas said the police officer and his wife had suspicions that Nhlanhla had stolen their clothes at the weekend.

'The police might drag their feet since he is one of them'

The family said the police officer in question lived in the area.

Nhlanhla's uncle, Petros Khwela, 55, told News24 that he didn't know whether a case of robbery had been opened following the incident.

"We suspect that police might try to protect their colleague. The policeman was there when the boy was beaten but police might drag their feet since he is one of them, even though he works at the Durban Central police station," said the uncle.

He said even though he was not accusing anyone of his nephew's death, he wanted to see "a proper investigation and arrests in the matter".

Nhlanhla was unemployed, he said.

Nhlanhla's friend Dan Mbuyisa, 29, alleged that they were in his room when the police officer, his wife and several other people arrived and took Nhlanhla with them.

'Badly beaten'

"The policeman handcuffed him and they took him outside. They asked him, 'where are the clothes?' and he denied any knowledge of the items. They then beat him up while he was handcuffed," said Mbuyisa.

He added that the group, including the police officer, allegedly took Nhlanhla from house to house asking him to point out where he had hidden the clothes.

"He was badly beaten and bleeding profusely. He was found lying dead in someone's yard the following morning. I suspect the people who beat him were trying to frame the owner of the house he was found at," Mbuyisa said.

He said they never got the clothes from Nhlanhla.

Mbuyisa said when police arrived at the scene, the police officer who allegedly took Nhlanhla away, his wife and the people who were with them during the beating didn't show up.

Zwane also confirmed that a case of murder was opened at Folweni police station after the discovery of Nhlanhla's body in Sundwini.

Read more on:    saps  |  durban  |  crime

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