NELSPRUIT - The police in Mpumalanga, hereby appeal to members of the community not to take the law into their own hands.
This appeal comes in light of incidents that occurred at Hluvukani, Thulamahashe on Monday and Tuesday evening, 09 and 10 September 2019, respectively, where a group of people burnt down five houses belonging to two different families after accusing them of practicing witchcraft in the area.
On Monday, 09 September 2019, community members set alight three huts belonging to a 69-year-old man who was staying with his four wives and six children. They reportedly assaulted them after accusing the family of practising witchcraft. One of the children, a 25-year-old, was cornered and taken to the nearby field where he was fatally assaulted. Police were summoned to the scene and rescued the family by taking them to a place of safety.
The following day, the community proceeded to another house where they also burnt down two huts after accusing the family of practicing witchcraft as well but they (family) managed to flee unharmed.
Two suspects, Brian Mhlongo, 37 as well as Ernest Ndlovu, 29, were arrested in this regard and they have already appeared at the Mhala Magistrate's Court today on charges of arson and assault to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH). They were remanded in custody and will appear at the same court on Tuesday, 17 September 2019, for formal bail application.
Police are investigating a case of murder as well. Anyone with information that may assist police in their investigation is urged to contact Captain Alfred Mashele at 082 968 4153 or the Crime Stop number 08600 10111.
The police warn members of the community to refrain from participating in acts of vigilantism / mob justice and allow police to do what they are trained for. They further indicated that people who commit such crimes will be dealt with harshly, in accordance with the law.
Source: South African Police Service