March 4 - Police in Mecklenburg at Burgersfort and at Maake at Tzaneen have launched manhunts for two separate groups of people who burnt houses and cars in apparent vigilante mob attacks. Photo: SAPS

BURGERSFORT - Police in Limpopo have launched massive manhunts for two separate groups of people who burnt houses and cars in apparent vigilante mob attacks at Burgersfort and Tzaneen, Limpopo police said on Sunday.

The South African Police Service in Limpopo condemned the "continuous acts of violence" perpetrated against those accused of being responsible for criminal activities in and around their areas, Lt-Col Moatshe Ngoepe said.

"This condemnation follows the two separate, similar incidents in the Mecklenburg policing area outside Burgersfort and in the Maake policing area outside Tzaneen [on Saturday]. The police in  Mecklenburg have launched a massive manhunt for a group of suspects who burnt houses and cars at Shakung village," Ngoepe said.

It was alleged that members of the community were burying Ntakeng Mokgotho, who was found murdered together with his dogs on the mountains on February 20 at the village. Immediately after the funeral service, they proceeded to the homes of two families, attacked them, and burnt their houses. At one of the homes, two vehicles were also burnt. The affected families were accused "of their actions after the late Mr Mokgotho was killed". During this incident, two people were slightly injured by stones thrown at them, Ngoepe said. 

Meanwhile, police in Maake at Tzaneen were also on the massive manhunt for a group of suspects who burnt a house at Moyakayaka village. It was alleged that on Saturday a group of community members attacked a family and burnt their house immediately after the funeral of a local resident, accusing the family of being responsible for the murder of the resident.

The suspects in both incidents were still unknown and no arrests had yet been made. Anyone with information which could lead to the arrest of the suspects involved on the Mecklenburg incident could contact Captain Gezani Khosa at 082-414-3070.

Information on the Maake incident could be given to Colonel Cecil Machimane at 082-451-7181. Information could also be passed on to Crime Stop on 08600-10111 or the crime line SMS 32211, or the nearest police station, Ngoepe said.

Limpopo police commissioner Lt-Gen Nneke Ledwaba expressed concern at the recurrence of such incidents, and cautioned members of the community continuing to perpetrate this type of action that they were damaging the spirit of community policing. 

"You cannot combat crime by committing crime, and as a result, all those who are still participating in these senseless acts are going to be dealt with accordingly," Ledwaba said.

African News Agency/ANA