File picture: Skyler Reid.

MOTHERWELL - Two young men have been kidnapped and killed in Motherwell, near Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, in what police believe to be a vigilante killing following the suspected rape and then murder of a 60-year-old woman in the area.

Police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge said: "At about 2.30am Motherwell police were alerted by family of the first deceased that a group of people kidnapped a 23-old-male and another male from his home in Mtanezulu Street, NU11, Motherwell. They also told police that the group took them into the bushes near Shuku Shukuma.

"On police arrival, the burning body of 23-year-old Andile Mtana was found. At about 8am the body of the second male was found in the same vicinity of the bushy area about one kilometre further," Beetge said. 

"It is speculated that the possible motive for the killings is that the community suspected them of the murder of a 60-year-old female whose body was discovered early yesterday on 14 February."

According to Beetge both males were bound with wires, killed and burned with tyres. The second male's identity still needed to be confirmed.

"The motive that sparked the vigilante murders erupted after the body of 60-year-old Ms Nomathemba Goliath was found yesterday [[Thursday] at 7am in her house in Mbayisa Street, Shuku Shukuma," he said. 

"Police suspect that she was murdered by suffocation with a towel as well as possibly being raped."
 
Motherwell Cluster Commander, Major General Dawie Rabie, said "SAPS cannot allow a community to transform into killers and to take the law into their own hands."

The vigilante murders follow just two days after the very same community was addressed on the issue during an awareness imbizo that was conducted at the NU30 community hall. 

During this imbizo, General Rabie strongly condemned vigilante killings and reminded residents that any person suspected of a crime remained constitutionally innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

"We call on our communities to respect the Constitutional rights of all citizens and work closer with police and structures such as the Community Police Forums and Sector Policing Forums by sharing information with police on suspects rather than taking the law into their own hands. Persons taking part in vigilante killings (mob justice) immediately becomes killers themselves."

Rabie said that the SAPS will not tolerate such murders and will arrest and institute murder prosecution against such persons.

Any person with information that could assist police in these investigations can contact Detective Warrant Officer Kaya Makaula at 071 687 1976

African News Agency (ANA)