A pair of feet were the only identifiable remains of a man who was murdered in what is believed to be a “necklacing” incident in Ritchie. Picture: Soraya Crowie/ANA

Kimberley - A pair of feet were the only identifiable remains of a man who was murdered in what is believed to be a “necklacing” incident in Ritchie on the weekend.

The man was apparently placed inside tyres and then set alight, before burning to death.

Necklacing is the practice of summary execution and torture carried out by forcing a rubber tyre, filled with petrol, around a victim’s chest and arms and setting it on fire.

The gruesome discovery was made on Friday night at around 9pm, when members of the crime-fighting organisation, Wanya Tsotsi, were called to the scene at a dumping site in Ritchie. They found the badly burnt body of a man, with at least two tyres wrapped around his upper torso, still on fire.

Wanya Tsotsi members on Sunday said that they were on patrol in Ritchie on Friday night when they received a call about a “cable fire” at the dumping site and they went to investigate.

They said that they found a pile of tyres burning and at first thought nothing of it, but upon closer inspection, when one of the members pulled some of the tyres apart, they saw the legs and feet of a man in the flames.

The fire department and the police were then called to the scene.

Chairperson of Wanya Tsotsi in Ritchie, Godfrey Joubert, on Sunday described the brutal discovery.

“The body had the remains of at least two tyres (rubber and inside wiring) around its upper part and arms. The feet were tied with a piece of wire and he was wearing a pair of grey socks. The rest of the body was completely burnt,” Joubert said.

“The smell of burning flesh filled the air, while boiling bodily fluids dripped onto the ground. The man’s skin had peeled from the flesh on the lower parts of his leg and you could hear the sound of sizzling fat.”

According to Joubert, pathology services had to cut the body free from the wires before it was taken to a mortuary. The blackened wire and the remains of burnt tyres were on Sunday still visible at the scene.

Joubert added that a pair of blood-soaked Adidas sneakers was found a few metres from the body, together with a box of matches and a pair of pliers, which he believed was used to cut the wire and bind the man’s feet.

He added that this led to the belief that the man was still alive when the tyres were placed around his body and then set alight.

Joubert said that this was the first incident of a suspected “necklacing” in “the history of Ritchie”.

“We can only speculate as to what happened here but we won’t be surprised if this was a drug-related incident as drug use/dealing is rife here. All we know is that this man was brutally killed by means of necklacing and suffered excruciating pain before his death,” said Joubert.

He said that the man had not yet been identified.

Police spokesperson, Captain Sergio Kock, on Sunday confirmed that a case of murder had been opened following the incident.

“Police in Modderrivier are investigating a case of murder after the body of an unknown man was found in the veld near the Ritchie Cemetery on Friday at around 9 pm. The body was found under a burning tyre and the circumstances surrounding the death is unknown at this stage,” said Kock.

“Police found a pair of white Adidas running shoes, a formal blue shirt and a pair of plyers close to the body of the deceased. The feet of the deceased were apparently tied with wire.”

Kock requested that anyone with information regarding the incident contact Detective Constable Wesley Matthews on 082 301 9995.

Diamond Fields Advertiser