Video shows crowd beating man to death for stealing pots
Residents accuse police of ignoring their complaints
A 24-year-old man from Dambuza in Pietermaritzburg was killed last week after residents accused him of stealing pots from someone’s home.
Nkosikhona Magwaza died on the scene when angry people stoned and beat him with sticks.
The gruesome attack happened in Dambuza last Wednesday night, 18 January. It was filmed by a resident and the video is available here. NOTE: THE VIDEO IS EXTREMELY GRAPHIC AND DISTURBING.
Members of the Magwaza family did not want to speak when GroundUp visited them on Tuesday.
Several residents have condemned the killing but others said it was time the community sent “a strong message” to criminals. They said police were failing to deal with increasing crime in the area, and that police did not follow up when residents reported thefts.
One resident, who did not want to be named, alleged Magwaza was part of the gang known as the Paras, who were whoonga addicts and had been stealing and mugging people. “They have turned our township to the most uncomfortable place to live in”, he said. (GroundUp has not been able to verify if Magwaza was part of a gang.)
“We are always on the look or waiting to hear someone screaming and appealing for help,” said the resident. He said Magwaza and another man had broken into a house and stolen a set of pots. “They were unlucky that they were seen. People screamed and that is how they were caught. Members of the community gathered and started hitting them. They were beaten with sticks and stones.”
The second man had managed to run away and was in hospital in a critical condition, said the resident.
Ward councillor Mtuza Mkhize condemned the killing. But, he said, many Dambuza residents had been victims of crime.
“It is a bad thing that the community has taken the law into their own hands. No one is above the law. But people are tired of police negligence. We have numerous incidents we have reported to the police and they have never attended to them. That angers the community. “
“This is a challenge to the police. If they were taking their jobs seriously we wouldn’t have this. We are appealing to the police to pay attention to cases that are reported to them. They have done nothing, despite meetings with them. We have a case that was reported five years ago, but until today nothing has been done. We see the perpetrators walking freely as if nothing happened,” said Mkhize.
Police spokesperson Thulani Zwane said a case of murder had been opened but there had been no arrests as yet. He said residents who were frustrated with the police should take their complaints to the commander of the Plessislaer police station. He warned that feeling neglected by the police did not justify the residents taking the law into their own hands.
Plessislaer police station, under which Dambuza falls, reported 94 cases of murder in 2016, down from 138 in 2006.
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