Eastern Cape village mob beats and torches three men accused of rape and murder


Three men accused of raping and killing elderly women were beaten and burnt to death by a mob of angry people this week.Image: 123RF/ DUNCAN  NOAKES

Three men accused of raping and killing elderly women were beaten and burnt to death by a mob of angry people this week.

The men are believed to have confessed to murders, rapes and housebreakings in Rhwantsana village near Cacadu (formerly Lady Frere) when they were “interrogated” by the mob on Wednesday afternoon.

The villagers have been complaining of high crime levels, including rape, robbery, housebreaking and murder, with elderly women staying alone being the most frequent targets.

They accuse police of doing little to fight crime in the area.

Since 2016 nine women have been raped and killed.

Wednesday’s triple slaying happened days before the funeral of Notest Lolo, 82, on Sunday. She was found murdered on August 4.

Family spokesperson Sindiswa Rotile said Lolo had been found dead in a locked house.

”She was staying alone as her adult children work in the Western Cape and Gauteng.

“We last saw her alive on August 28. The family thought she was probably visiting her maiden family in the nearby Holi village.

“But after we called them we realised nobody knew her whereabouts and her cellphone was on voicemail.

“The neighbours decided to break the padlock. They found her in a dry pool of blood behind the door with a deep and long wound on the back of her neck as if someone was killing a cow.”

If there was an arrest the family had not been told of it, he added.

”This is despite that on three occasions, one of her neighbours knocked on her door in the middle of the night and the following day came to apologise, saying that he had been drunk.

“Notest said if she was killed, people should know that he was the first suspect. A few days after the last incident she was indeed killed.

“We told the police about him after she was killed but they made no arrests. And now we learnt last night that he was one of the three men killed by the mob,” Rotile said.

Emalahleni municipality ward 1 councillor Tozama Mrwebi condemned the level of violence in Rhwantsana.

”Killing and rape of women and children in this ward is so high and the police are failing us with their lack of arrests, especially the bereaved families. But that does not justify in any way that people should take the law into their own hands.

“Two wrongs do not make a right. We strongly condemn the mob killing.”

She said women at Rhwantsana were living in fear.

On Wednesday morning, Rhwantsana youth held an imbizo against crime, attended by local Bholotwa police.

Local youth leader and ward committee member Bukiwe Mgwebi, who lives in the village, said there had been not one arrest in connection with the nine women and children raped and killed in four years.

”Since lockdown began three women have been murdered. We suspect there are people selling drugs in our village, and we are also concerned about taverns operating 24 hours a day.

“All we want in this ward is peace and harmony.”

Mgwebi also strongly condemned the mob killing, adding nobody was prepared to come forward and take responsibility.

”We must not lose confidence in our justice system and take the law into our own hands, no matter how angry we are. Nobody has a right to kill.”

Provincial police on Thursday condemned the killings, saying three cases of murder were opened and police were following up on all leads that could lead to the arrest of those behind these gruesome murders.

Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga said: “There is no justification for taking law into your own hands. Under no circumstances will police allow this to happen. Those responsible for murder will be arrested and brought to book.” — 

By Lulamile Feni – DispatchLIVE

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