WATCH: Violence erupts in Machadodorp after security guards assault community member

2018-09-12 16:10
SA police. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

SA police. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Residents of Machadodorp in Mpumalanga went on a rampage on Tuesday evening, burning a store and trucks after two security officers working for a private security company allegedly assaulted a community member earlier in the week. 

A video recording of the incident shows two men allegedly trying to arrest another and dragging him to a bakkie. Chaos erupts as onlookers protest against the treatment of the man. 

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Police spokesperson Colonel Mtsholi Bhembe confirmed the incident to News24 and said that the two men who work for a local security company in Machadodorp were arrested on Monday shortly after the incident. 

Bhembe said it was alleged that the security company was called by a shop owner after the man got into an altercation with a shop employee.

Despite the arrests, outraged community members took matters into their own hands and burnt the shop and two trucks after blocking a road in the small town. 

Bhembe said the situation was still very tense on Wednesday and that police had been deployed to monitor the situation. 

'Worst form of barbarism'

Mpumalanga community safety, security and liaison MEC Pat Ngomane welcomed the arrest of the two men.

"This incident apparently happened recently when the men demonstrated acts of violence and vigilantism," said Ngomane in a statement. 

According to the MEC, this incident depicts the worst form of barbarism, which should not be tolerated regardless of how strong individuals feel about any wrongdoing.

"While we acknowledge that crime remains a serious challenge which affects many communities, we believe that community members must report crime and work with the police. We therefore encourage community members to refrain from taking the law into their own hands."

Ngomane added that he did not believe that the two security guards belong to any community policing forum structure or a security company, as most organised structures and credible security companies know how to deal with people, including crime suspects.

He called on police to investigate the incident thoroughly, stating that such incidences have the potential of causing a flare up of racial tensions and inciting violence. 

He also condemned the subsequent violence by the community, and asked that community members restrain themselves and wait for authorities to intervene before taking the law into their own hands. 

In a statement, the ANC said it was shocked at what appeared to be a racially motivated attack. 

"Their shameless disregard of the police officers at the scene, who clearly were trying to reason with them, demonstrates their disdain for the rule of law," said ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe.

"Such conduct has no place in our society and those who believe they are above the law should be ashamed to call themselves South African."

Mabe also condemned the actions of the community.

Both men  appeared in the Belfast Magistrate's Court on Tuesday where they were remanded in custody. They are expected to apply for bail on Friday.

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