Cape Town - Hermanus police were attacked by residents as they tried to intervene when three people were being burnt to death after they were accused of theft, assault and terrorizing their community.
The three men were killed in the vigilante attack on Saturday.
Police spokesperson FC Van Wyk said they were investigating three counts of murder.
“Hermanus Police attended a complaint on Saturday at about 1.55pm.
Upon arrival at an open field near to Marikana in Zwelihle they saw a crowd. Upon inspection they noticed three victims who sustained serious burn wounds.
"When police tried to intervene, the crowd attacked them, with members responding to control the crowd.
The unknown victims were declared deceased on the scene by the medical personnel.
“The unknown suspects are yet to be arrested,” said Van Wyk.
A witness said residents felt they had to take the law into their own hands as police did not quickly attend to reported incidents.
“Immediately after they stabbed the person, residents quickly responded and tied them up before burning them.
“I was once robbed by one of the guys in April, he took my two cellphones, bank cards and my Identity book. They have been terrorising us for a very long time.
“Last year a woman was robbed and raped and we accompanied the lady to report the matter to the police station but till today no one has been arrested for that incident,” the resident said. Community leader Nosipho Mhlathi said they will submit a list of grievances to the local police station on Friday.
Anyone with information on the incident can anonymously contact Crime Stop at 086 0010 111 or or use the MySaps mobile app.