A suspected bank card thief is fighting for his life in a Limpopo hospital after a group of residents attacked him and cut off his penis.
He is one of three suspects who allegedly caused havoc in, among others, Tzaneen by stealing bank cards, forcing the owners to give them their pin numbers and then withdrawing money.
This incident happened at around 09:00 on Tuesday in the Bungeni area about 140km from Polokwane.
The robbers managed to steal a card from a woman who was withdrawing money at an ATM in the Bungeni Bar, said provincial police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe.
A few minutes later, the woman received an SMS from her bank informing her that money was being withdrawn at the nearby Vivo Garage.
When she arrived at the garage, she identified the three suspects. They tried to flee in their car but other motorists managed to block the road.
A group of residents then attacked the suspects and beat them with sticks, rocks, cement blocks and a sjambok, among others.
It was then that a group of men held down one of the suspects, pulled down his pants and cut off his penis.
The police were informed about the incident and managed to rescue the alleged thieves from the mob.
Ngoepe said the suspects were all well-known residents of the Rivati settlement near Tzaneen.
The man who lost his penis was transferred to the nearby Elim Hospital. Paramedics had apparently put his dismembered penis in a box of ice and handed it to the hospital.
Ngoepe confirmed the man was in a critical condition.
The other two suspects, who were assaulted, have been discharged and are currently in police custody until their appearance in court later this week.