Durban - A rampaging mob looted and smashed the windows of a tuck shop in Wiggins near Cato Manor after a man was found dead with his body protruding through the burglar guards of the shop early on Monday.
Sibusiso Bhengu was last seen alive at midnight on Sunday, when he left his home to buy beers at the tuck shop.
Two hours later his mother, Gladys Bhengu, received a phone call saying he was dead.
Bhengu’s murder caused ripples in the community, which turned violent when a mob of people stormed the tuck shop, owned by a Mozambican.
Residents blamed him for the murder and wanted him to be jailed. He had to be escorted from his Lethokuhle Road shop by police, who feared for his safety.
Gladys said that when the family went to the shop where her son was murdered, they were confronted by a “horrible scene”.
Her son’s body, from the waist up, seemed to have been pushed through a small gap between the window pane and burglar guard. Blood from his head wound was splattered on the wall. She said a pool of blood had formed on the floor under his elevated body.
Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said Bhengu was allegedly assaulted to death on Monday.
“It is alleged that he broke into the premises. Cato Manor police are investigating a case of murder. The shop owner was taken in for questioning,” Zwane said.
Residents demanded that police investigate the matter so that justice would prevail.
At about 11am the community saw shop owner Lucas Bhanda arrive in his red Audi.
They accused him of being behind the death.
They approached him and demanded to know how Bhengu was killed. They allegedly threatened to kill him and set alight his shop.
The community then looted his shop of its stock. They broke the gates and damaged the windows. Police were called in. They escorted Bhanda to a police vehicle and took him to Cato Manor police station for questioning amid a roar from the crowd that had gathered.
A policeman had to drive Bhanda’s car to the station. The Public Order Police unit arrived and dispersed the crowd, informing community leaders and the friends of the victim that it was an illegal gathering.
Bhanda declined to comment to the Daily News. He said the matter was in the hands of the police.
Bhengu’s close friends said he had gone to the shop to buy beers while they waited at a nearby car wash.
They heard of his death and went to the shop, but the workers or patrons did not want to tell them what had happened. It was unclear if the shop was open at the time of his death.
“People at the shop claimed he was stealing and tried to climb through the window. It is impossible to fit through a small gap like that. He was not a thief. I gave him money to buy beers… We want a full investigation,” Bhengu said.
She said her son had planned to re-register at Burnwood Secondary School to complete his matric. He was unemployed and worked occasionally as a taxi driver’s assistant.