KwaZulu-Natal police are investigating a case of murder after a homeless man burnt to death in Verulam, north of Durban, on Sunday.
While the exact details around the man's death are the subject of a police investigation, it is alleged that in the early hours of the morning, a group of community patrollers approached two men who had been asleep under the bridge near the Umdloti River.
"They had been sleeping when the occupants of two unbranded vans with white flashing lights stopped on the R102. The occupants approached them and burnt their blankets and their belongings,“ Rusa's Prem Balram said.
One of the homeless men managed to flee and when he returned to the scene some time later, he found his friend's burnt body.
"The deceased is believed to have crawled under a supporting pillar in an attempt to evade his attackers and the heat from the fire," Balram said.
When Rusa officers drove to the scene, they found police at the scene, as well as the victim's charred remains.
"The man's body was found at the base of an upright support pillar. Law enforcement is searching for the community patrollers responsible for the murder," Balram said.
South African Police Services (SAPS) spokesperson, Colonel Robert Netshiunda, confirmed that police attended the scene at the Canelands Bridge.
"It is alleged that the 35-year-old man was sleeping under the bridge with his friends when they were approached by a group of people who began assaulting them. Reports indicate that the friend managed to escape, and when he came back the following day, they found a burnt body of the deceased," Netshiunda said.
He said the Verulam SAPS is investigating a murder case.