Cape Town - Mphumzi Sithela almost died when he was sjambokked and beaten with an iron pipe for allegedly stealing a DVD player.
When he answered a knock on the door of his Khayelitsha shack, six men dragged him to a nearby tavern and started beating him, Sithela said on Monday, a day before an inquiry into police efficiency in Khayelitsha resumed.
The men accused him of having stolen a DVD player from a house in the area, he said of the attack that took place in October.
Sithela 32, who lived in Site C had both his arms broken. He sustained head injuries and later lost his job as a security guard.
The beating lasted about three hours and Sithela was later taken to hospital by his attackers.
“They stopped beating me up when my neighbour came and told them I had not stolen the DVD player,” he said.
“I tried to tell them I wasn’t the person they were looking for, but they continued beating me. I was confused because I had no knowledge of why they were beating me,” Sithela said.
Before the attack he had just started a new job after having been unemployed for three years, he said as he recalled how he escaped death.
“I was lucky. I don’t know how I survived the attack because when you are accused of stealing something in this area, they normally kill you,” he said.
Sithela did not file a complaint as he feared his attackers or their friends would come after him if they were arrested. He welcomed the inquiry and said it was time issues such as vigilante killings were taken seriously.
“Many lose their lives unfairly through mob justice. I think the commission is a great idea. These things… should be prevented.”
Since the attack Sithela has been unemployed.
He made a living by doing general house work for motorists who stopped at various traffic intersections where he waited daily, he said.
“The attack cost me everything because when I went back to my job, they told me I was not fit to work,” he said.
Sithela said his attackers had apologised with the help of the local street committee’s members.
“I forgave them long time ago… There is no use in holding grudges,” Sithela said.