Polokwane looter who was captured, severely assaulted out on bail
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Pretoria - A suspected looter was released on a warning by the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday after being captured, severely assaulted and tortured before he was handed over to the police.
On Monday, Pretoria News reported that 27-year-old John Mothiba was immersed in cold water with ice by taxi drivers after he was allegedly caught stealing a chair at a furniture shop in the Polokwane CBD last week.
The incident took place at a Polokwane taxi rank and was captured on video and circulated on social media before Mothiba was arrested.
Police spokesperson Motlafela Mojapelo said that Mothiba, who was charged with theft, appeared before the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court this week and was let go on a warning to appear again in August.
“Mothiba appeared in court on Tuesday on a charge of theft. He was released on warning, and the matter has been postponed for further investigation. He will appear in court on August 20,” Mojapelo said.
Taxi drivers have been patrolling the streets in parts of the country to fight off the brazen looting and public violence sparked by former president Jacob Zuma’s incarceration two weeks ago.
Zuma has been jailed at Estcourt Correctional Centre for 15 months after defying a court order to testify before the state capture inquiry.
Similar cases of vigilantism and mob justice where taxi drivers have taken the law into their own hands have been reported in Pretoria, Vosloorus, Diepsloot in Gauteng, and Gqebera and Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.
The public violence started in KwaZulu-Natal and spread to Gauteng and parts of Mpumalanga. While the death toll was reportedly 215 across the country as announced by Acting Minister in the Presidency Nkhumbudzo Ntshavheni on Monday, Police Minister Bheki Cele said that about 3 400 people had been arrested.
He said special courts were being established to hear the cases separately from other cases.
Among those arrested were six “key arrests” made in the past week, including former Ukhozi FM radio presenter Ngizwe Mchunu, who turned himself in to the police after being sought for inciting the violence in Johannesburg.
Patriotic Alliance mayoral candidate on the West Rand municipality Bruce Aldrin Nimmerhoudt appeared in court on Monday.
He faces charges of incitement to commit public violence by sending out a WhatsApp voice note calling on people to attack malls.
He was remanded.
More than 600 people are facing prosecution in the West Rand District alone.