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Cape Town - A young purse snatcher was hunted down and burnt to death by residents fed up of crime.
The unidentified man is the 18th victim of mob justice in the Cape since the start of last year.
Dogs gnawed at the man’s charred remains in the street where it was left by residents as a warning sign to other criminals.
Witnesses said the man, believed to be in his 20s, was cornered after he allegedly snatched a handbag from a woman who was on her way to the train station early on Tuesday morning.
The woman was on her way to work when she was approached by the thief.
She screamed for help, alerting residents as the man dashed off with her handbag.
Minutes later the robber was cornered behind shacks in Town Two Section in Khayelitsha and assaulted with bricks.
His bloodied body was then set alight.
Patrick Bushwana, 59, said it was a horrific to watch dogs feasting on the corpse.
“People are fed up and don’t have trust in police anymore,” he said.
“We need to strengthen our street committees to help us identify strangers in our area.
“And now that winter is approaching, we need action as a matter of urgency.”
A 57-year-old resident, who declined to be named, said crime is rife in the area.
“These thugs are targeting people on their way to work,” the resident said.
“It’s going to be tough now, because winter is approaching and it gets dark early so we are easy targets.”
Another resident issued a chilling warning to thugs: “People should go in groups to beat up these skollies(gangsters).
“We are ready to deal with anyone who wants to rob in this area.”
Harare police said that a case of murder is being investigated and no one has been arrested.
Earlier this month three men were also torched to death in separate incidents in Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and Philippi.