Fifteen year old Thando Hani who was allegedly falsely accused of stealing a cellphone and beaten to death by community members.
Fifteen year old Thando Hani who was allegedly falsely accused of stealing a cellphone and beaten to death by community members.

Autistic boy laid to rest after mob attack

By Odwa Mkentane Time of article published Oct 4, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Fifteen year old Thando Hani who was allegedly falsely accused of stealing a cellphone and beaten to death by community members was laid to rest on Saturday.

According to community members in the Vosho informal settlement, Samora Machel, Thando, who was autistic, was on his way home from school on September 18 when residents chased a suspect who allegedly stole a cellphone, later apparently finding Thando with the item.

The family says the alleged robber dumped the cellphone with Hani as he ran away.

Police spokesperson Andrea Traut said the circumstances are being investigated and arrests are yet to be made.

“The 15-year-old male victim was assaulted in Vosho informal settlement in Samora Machel and he was admitted to Groote Schuur Hospital where he (died). The murder docket was transferred from Woodstock to Samora Machel on September 24, where the circumstances are now being investigated. Arrests are yet to be made,”said Traut.

A family friend who asked not to be named said they were disappointed by residents taking the law into their own hands.

“They killed the wrong person. The suspect that was being chased by residents knew very well that Thando is suffering from Autism. Among the mob, there are those who know his condition very well but they continued to beat him up.

“I was at work when I received a call from my neighbours that he was being beaten by a mob. I then called his father and he went to the scene immediately. They were about to burn his body when his father arrived. His father took him to hospital and he died a few days later at the hospital. What I fail to understand is that if they find him with the cellphone, then what happened to the person they were chasing because they know very well, that it was not who they were chasing.”

Vosho Community Police Forum CPF spokesoerson Bongani Maqungwana condemned the incident.

“The residents should have called the police or a CPF member once they caught a suspect with a stolen item and not taken the law into their hands. As the CPF from different areas within Phillipi, we fundraised for the funeral of this child because his father is unemployed.

“We are liaising with the police to arrest the suspects,”said Maqungwana.

Cape Times

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