Two men burnt to death in mob justice attack
RUSTENBURG - A man was burnt beyond recognition inside a minibus taxi and the other was found burnt to death in the street in what appears to be a mob justice attack in the North West, police said on Monday.
Spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said the police were called to a main road in Segwaelane, near Brits, on Saturday night, where they found another man who had been severely assaulted.
"Despite being threatened, the police managed to successfully rescue the man and a woman from a group of people that had barricaded the road and was heavily armed with sticks, pangas and knobkerries. Due to the volatile situation, including throwing of stones towards the police, back-up was called.
"Subsequent to arrival of public order police with an armoured vehicle, the police proceeded to a Toyota Quantum minibus, which was burning. To their dismay, they found the body of a male burnt beyond recognition in the minibus," he said in a statement.
He said the motive for the attack was not yet known, but unconfirmed reports suggested that the victims were accused of several recent incidents of house robbery and house break-ins allegedly committed in the village.
"Preliminary investigation revealed that all the victims are Bekkersdal residents from Gauteng province. At this stage, cases of murder, malicious damage to property and assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm have been opened for investigation and no arrest has been effected," he said.
Another man was found burnt to death in the street.
The police have opened a murder case in connection with his death.
In a grisly video shared on social media platforms detailing how he was killed, a smouldering man is seen rolling down on the side of a road trying to stand up. A man wearing a white T-shirt, yellow work trousers and white gumboots walks to him and pours a flammable liquid over him to reignite the fire while the crowd cheers him on. One woman can be heard telling him to pour the liquid into the victim’s mouth. The flames then engulf the man.
North West provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Sello Kwena condemned the incident, stating that lawlessness and disrespect for the rule of law could not be condoned.
He urged the public to refrain from unlawful acts, including taking the law into their own hands, and to report all suspected criminal activities to the police or to recognised and legal structures such as the community police forum.