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The charred remains of a 26-year-old man were found in a field outside the Kanana informal settlement in Gugulethu on Sunday, apparently necklaced in a vigilante killing.
He has been identified as Vuyisa Bangiso.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut confirmed Bangiso had been burnt with a tyre, but the circumstances surrounding his death were still unknown.
Local Sanco member Nolitha Feni, said: “We were awoken by screams at around 6.30am and when we came out we saw Bangiso in flames. No one knows what happened, but we think he might have been burnt by the community.”
As Bangiso’s body was being lifted on to a stretcher cries could be heard from his family who had gone to identify him.
His aunt, Phindeka Ramba, said she heard around 8.30am on Sunday that someone had been burnt.
Ramba said Bangiso was unemployed but she had never heard of him committing any crimes. However, Bangiso’s brother Maphelo Bangiso, 19, said his brother was a drug addict.
“He was addicted to tik and he used to steal from us here at home, but we have never heard of him robbing others or breaking into homes,” said Maphelo. “He was a kind-hearted person to us at home and he took care of us whenever he could. I am really going to miss him.”
Traut said no arrests had been made, but a murder case had been opened.
The alleged vigilante attack comes six days after Western Cape Premier Helen Zille was granted permission by the Constitutional Court to relaunch a commission of inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha.
The inquiry was set up by Zille last year to investigate alleged police inefficiency in the area that was believed to have led to spike in vigilante attacks.
At least six people have been killed in separate alleged vigilante attacks in the province this year.
In May, a man was beaten to death by residents in Vissershok after he was accused of raping and robbing women.
In the same month a man was stoned to death in the Kanana informal settlement on suspicion of being a thief. Also in May, a man was killed and his accomplice was beaten after they were said to have been involved in a mugging in Mandalay, Khayelitsha.
Six men are on trial after being accused of taking part in the alleged vigilante killing of three Khayelitsha men in August. Last year the men were accused of stealing a TV and were kidnapped and tortured before being beaten to death.