Police worry over rampant incidents of gender-based violence, mob justice across Limpopo

Police in Limpopo have been ordered to track community members involved in several incidents of mob justice and arrest them. Picture: Phando Jikelo

Police in Limpopo have been ordered to track community members involved in several incidents of mob justice and arrest them. Picture: Phando Jikelo

Published May 3, 2023


Pretoria – Police in Limpopo are 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 in Limpopo were killed through acts of vigilantism in the communities.

“On Saturday 29 April 2023, a 58-year-old woman was found killed and her body burned beyond recognition at her home in Moletlane outside Zebediela. The charred remains of Betty Nurse Hlabela were discovered inside a bathtub at about 1pm,” Limpopo police spokesperson, Colonel Malesela Ledwaba said.

“Police opened a case of murder and the 34-year-suspect has been arrested after he was positively linked to the incident.”

In another incident on the same day, a 30-year-old woman was arrested after she allegedly stabbed and killed her partner, 29, in Elandskraal.

Ledwaba said the man was murdered in an apparent domestic violence incident.

“The two incidents were followed by a gruesome incident that took place in Thabampshe village in Masemola policing area, where a 55-year-old man was arrested in connection with the brutal murder of a two-year-old boy on Sunday 30 April 2023. The suspect allegedly came home late, drunk and started a fight with his niece, who is the child’s mother,” he said.

“The uncle allegedly grabbed the child and smashed his head against the floor where he succumbed to the injuries on arrival at the hospital due to head injuries.”

Police said there are also several cases of vigilantism that have been reported across the province which are under investigation. The alleged assailants are still being tracked by police.

“Police on Sunday, 30 April, at about 7pm responded to a complaint of mob justice where community members at Mashau Thondoni, outside Levubu, assaulted an unknown man and thereafter burned his body. This was after they accused of committing crimes in the area,” Ledwaba said.

“Police in Giyani are also investigating a case of murder, arson and malicious damage to property that took place at Shivulani village on Saturday, 29 April. The angry community allegedly burned two spaza shops, a tavern and three vehicles after the owner allegedly shot and killed a 26-year-old man at the tavern. The businessman, 36, has since been arrested and charged with murder.”

Acting provincial commissioner of police in Limpopo, Major-General Jan Scheepers has ordered an immediate probe into all the reported cases.

“There is no justification whatsoever in acts of mob justice by members of the communities and the same goes for perpetrators of gender-based violence and perpetrators of such crimes will face the full might of the law,” Scheepers said.

Police said all the arrested suspects will appear before court.