Women severely beaten, man killed after mob accuses them of stealing a cellphone
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Cape Town - The family of a 22-year-old man from Makhaza are seeking justice, after he died on Wednesday as a result of mob justice.
Asenathi Silika and 26-year old Zikhona Hlazo were accused of stealing a cellphone, when they were stripped naked and brutally assaulted with sjamboks and electricity cables on Tuesday, by two women and three men.
Hlazo sustained serious injuries and has since opened a case with the police. Police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk confirmed that the police were investigating a case of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH), after the complainant was allegedly assaulted in Enkanini, Khayelitsha. Van Wyk said no one has been arrested at this stage.
Asenathi's uncle Thembelani said the two had gone to drink with friends in Enkanini on Sunday, when a phone got lost and was pinned on them. Asenathi has been in the area for less than two months, he said.
“On Monday, this woman, her son, and her friends who they were drinking with, came to our house and ambushed him, without explaining what was happening. After a while, they came back without him, demanding that we pay for a phone that he has apparently stolen, only to realise that they had brutally assaulted him and he died the following day.
“For him to be killed, based on assumptions and with no evidence or eyewitness that saw them take the cellphone, is devastating. We want those implicated to be punished by law and to also ensure that no one will ever experience such brutality,” Silika said.
Hlazo, who detailed the incident, said after they were ambushed, they were locked inside a room where they were continuously assaulted with every object the perpetrators could find.
“There were more than five people in the room when we were drinking, but they somehow decided to pin the theft of the phone on us. If I had not offered to pay for the phone, they would have killed us both. They only stopped when I said I had money in my account, after we told them numerous times that we had not taken the phone. By the time my sister came to our rescue, I was naked and shaking,” she said.
Community leader Lumkile Sizila, who condemned the act, called for appropriate ways of dealing with such incidents.
“We need to iron out this issue before it becomes a norm and spreads throughout the community. There are appropriate channels that these people could have exploited, based in the community, like policing forums, including the police. We do not promote crime or any form of robbery and, at the same time, we don't encourage anyone taking law into their hands, especially when allegations are based on assumptions,” he said.