Another case of mob justice transpired in Mlungisi on Saturday when a man accused of robbery was beaten to a pulp by residents of Thulandivile who claim they have had enough.
The Rep spoke to a frustrated parent whose 20-year-old son was robbed on his way back from town on Friday evening. “It was his birthday and his friends had bought him gifts so he went to go fetch those from his friends in town. On his way back around 7pm he said he was robbed by two guys near the Gauteng informal settlement. He said they took his gifts, R800, his bank card, student card, ID, a USB flash drive and his new cellphone.”
The parent who did not want to be named said his son went to go report this at the Mlungisi police station but the door was locked. “He said he knocked but the door could not open. This happened around 3am on Saturday. We woke up in the morning to search for the perpetrators because my son said he recognised one of them. We found him and he denied everything, that’s when everyone started beating him.” She said police arrived on the scene without name tags and took the alleged suspect to hospital.
Other residents who did not want to be named said cases of robbery and housebreaking were common in the area indicating that they were not safe and they have had enough.
The parent said she was disappointed as the police showed no care. “There is a shack situated at Gauteng informal settlement where all of these criminals get together and smoke drugs and start robbing people. Residents have once tried to burn it down but it is still there,” she said
Ward 17 councillor Mncedisi Mbengo had encouraged the act of mob justice indicating that this would serve as a signal to others who were violating the law. “I have been informed by the ward committee and the sector forum about this occurrence. I have called a community meeting today (April 26) to discuss and address this issue. Criminals must be punished and if needs be they must be beaten to the point of death. This will warn other criminals not to practise criminal activity in our areas.” Mbengo said he had received information about the shack that was identified as a drug den and a spot where criminals were residing. “These informal settlements must be destroyed. I am yet to get full details from the community members during the meeting,” he said.
In response to whether he was aware about claims made by the residents about the Mlungisi police station being locked at certain hours, Mbengo said, “I am not aware about this but we have a new vibrant station commander whom I will communicate with to condemn this should it be true.”
Police spokesperson Namhla Mdleleni said a case of robbery was opened and under investigation. “The alleged suspect is still in hospital in a steady condition. We are appealing to community members not to take the law into their own hands. Community members have full access to any police station and they are never closed as a result there are no padlocks. There are cases where doors might be closed on account of the weather, maybe, but they are never locked,” said Mdleleni.