Cape Town - Family members of two men who died at the hands of vigilantes told the Khayelitsha commission of inquiry on Friday how unhelpful police had been in assisting them.
Nomakhuma Bontshi, aunt of 30-year-old Andile Ntsholo, who was necklaced in May 2012, broke down and dabbed away tears with a blue handkerchief after telling commissioners her story.
The night before Andile was found dead in B-section, angry community members had gathered at her sister's house and told them they would be packing his bags and forcing him out of the area because he was accused of stealing cellphones from residents.
Andile's charred body was found in Khayelitsha the next morning.
“The police arrived at our house the next morning and asked us who could have done this and we said we don't know,” Bontshi said.
She said it was the first and last time they heard from police.
“We never got around to find out everything from the police. All I know is God will reveal who did this.”
Norman Arendse, for the police, asked her why she never contacted the police when Andile's neighbours threatened to eject him.
“Because the residents were so angry... we thought even the police wouldn't be able to do anything about it,” she answered.
Harare resident Mzoxolo Tame was the next to take the stand.
Tame's cousin Xolisile was killed in January last year after allegedly being caught breaking into a house.
Tame told the commission of his encounter with the investigating officer, shortly before Xolisile's body was identified.
He described the officer as rude, dismissive and disrespectful.
When asked what the detective told him, he quoted the officer.
“He said, I quote, the laaitie was caught with his body halfway through the window of a house and he was moered,” said Tame.
A woman, her son, and another adult man were arrested and later released on bail.
Tame said he had yet to hear from Harare police how far the case had progressed, telling commissioners Justice Kate O'Regan and Vusi Pikoli how he felt about the attitude of police officers in Harare in general.
“They don't understand their fundamental responsibility... they think they are doing the community a favour,” Tame said.
“Their attitude is not that of public servants.”
The commission was set up to probe allegations of police inefficiency in Khayelitsha, following several mob justice killings, allegedly as a result of residents' frustrations with police inaction.