Police in Mpumalanga have raised “a serious concern” over the prevalence of mob justice incidents where people are murdered after being dragged before “kangaroo courts” in the province.
The remarks were made after seven people were murdered in four separate incidents in the Ehlanzeni District on Wednesday.
“Among the victims, two were found lying in a pool of blood after allegedly been assaulted by a mob where they sustained multiple injuries,” said Limpopo police spokesperson, Colonel Donald Mdhluli.
“Their lifeless bodies were discovered at Mjejane (Hectorspruit) near Komatipoort.”
In another incident, a 28-years-old victim's body was found with multiple injuries in Marite, at Ga-Bhereni village near Bushbuckridge, not far from a tavern.
“The victim is suspected to have been attacked by some community members. Stones, bricks, as well as sticks were also found next to the victim’s body. Preliminary investigation by the police suggests that the victim might have been killed by a mob as well,” said Mdhluli.
In Lydenburg, a 33-year-old man succumbed to injuries upon arrival at a hospital. Allegations are that he too “was severely assaulted by a group of people” at the Lydenburg taxi rank.
“As if that was not enough, on Wednesday night, the police in Komatipoort responded to yet another mob justice incident at Mjejane whereby three people were burnt to death by some members of the public, and their vehicle, as well as a trailer were set alight,” said Mdhluli.
“Police are trying to establish whether this incident is not related to the one where two victims were killed in the same area earlier that day.”
Mdhluli said the police appreciate instances where community members work hand-in-glove with the law enforcement agencies to ensure that suspected criminals are prosecuted after thorough investigations.
“However, the SAPS strongly condemns incidents wherein people take the law into their own hands,” said Mdhluli.
“The SAPS encourages community members to report any criminal activity to the authorities or utilise community-based structures like community policing forums (CPF) and the community in blue, which seek to bridge the gap between the community and the police.”
Earlier this year, police in Limpopo raised concerned about the rampant acts of gender-based violence, in which several people were killed “in the most gruesome way” following apparent domestic disputes.
Police said in some instances, people accused of being the perpetrators of crime in Limpopo were killed through acts of vigilantism in the communities.