POLOKWANE – The Provincial Commissioner of Police in Limpopo Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe has strongly warned vigilante groups for taking the law into their own hands and killing people they suspect of crime. This after the partially burned and bound body of one of the mob justice victims was found by a Pastor in the Church at Tshikota location in Louis Trichardt this morning, 25 December 2022.
The incident follows a chain of events which commenced with the reporting of a case of burglary business at Makhado police station which allegedly took place at a school at Tshikota location on Tuesday 20 December 2022.
On Wednesday 21 December 2022, a vigilante group calling themselves “Tshikota Anti-crime Group” reportedly traced the suspects without knowledge of the police. They managed to locate three African males and accused them of being responsible for the burglary.
They were taken to the local graveyard and one of the victims managed to escape from the mob but the other two were severely assaulted and later doused with a flammable substance and set alight.
The group initially misrepresented the facts and allegedly told the family of one of the victims that they rescued him from unknown mob after they set alight and that the other victim ran into the bushes while burning.
The victim, identified as Tumelo Mamitja aged 22, was taken to the local hospital and was transferred to Mankweng hospital where he later succumbed to the burn wounds on Friday 23 December 2022.
“This incident is highly deplorable and the culprits have to face the full might of the law. People wanting to contribute to the fight against crime must do so within the existing legal structures such as the Community Policing Forums (CPFs), Community Safety Forums (CSFs), Community In Blue (CIBs) or street patrollers. Anything outside the recognized and legal structures is regarded as vigilante group and the police will be merciless in dealing with lawlessness.” Concluded Lieutenant General Hadebe.
The Police have opened two counts of kidnapping and murder. Three suspects, aged between 40 and 50 are expected to appear in Louis Trichardt magistrate court on Wednesday 28 December 2022.
More arrests are expected. Anyone with information that can lead to the apprehension of the remaining suspects is urged to contact the Investigating Officer, Sergeant Silas Baloyi on 0610147327 or Crime Stop number 0860010111 or nearest police station or may send message via MySAPS App.
Source: South African Police Service