The affordable education loan option
Cape Town - Hands tied behind his back with wire, Luyanda Ntsanie, 18, flinched as someone hit him with a rubber pipe. Then a stone was hurled at his head, and then a brick. Someone else struck him with a bottle, and blood began to flow.
Then a rope was wrapped around his neck.
“I told myself I was going to die,” the self-confessed cellphone thief said on Monday. “I prayed for a cops’ van to pass and save me.”
A police van did arrive, and Ntsanie thought his problems were over. He had no idea how wrong he was – instead of helping him the police left him in the hands of the mob.
Ntsanie’s problems began on Friday when he and some friends mugged two men at knifepoint and stole their phones, a BlackBerry and a Nokia. Ntsanie lost the Nokia and sold the BlackBerry to a woman.
Ntsanie found he had sorely misjudged the mood of his community. On Saturday, he was dragged from his house in Mfuleni and marched down Tokwana Street by four men who had tracked him down. They demanded he produce the phones.
When he could not, the four attacked, and soon after, according to the photographer who witnessed the attack, others joined in.
Ntsanie thought he was going to die before the police van arrived.
“I was relieved, but the mob told me not to say a word. I couldn’t even beg the cops for help.”
Anelisa Mbombo, who witnessed the beating, said a policeman told the crowd to untie the rope around his neck and to release him into their custody.
The rope was removed from his neck, but the crowd was not prepared to let him go.
“One man told the police that he (Ntsanie) would not go into the van until the phone was found,” said Mbombo.
She said the police officer did not say a word. He just walked away. The crowd continued their interrogation.
“Where is the phone?” someone asked Ntsanie.
The rope was tied around the teenager’s neck again.
Ntsanie said he tried to say he would take them to the person he had sold the BlackBerry to – but at first no one was listening. Eventually he was able to lead the crowd to the woman who had bought the phone.
“She gave them back the phone and said they must continue to beat me. I was hit again. Then they took me back to Tokwana Street, and they left,” said Ntsanie.
Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said the police were there to protect and ensure the safety of all people.
“This holds true regardless of whether someone is accused of committing a crime.”
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said the allegations against the officers were being taken seriously. He added, however, that the police had no record of the incident and encouraged Ntsanie to report the matter to the police so “the failure of the members to take action can be investigated”.
But this time Ntsanie is not seeking out the police. “I’m very angry. Look at my face. I want to get revenge. I’m going to deal with this my own way.”