The late Mr Alugumi Phandavhudzi, who was mistaken for a crimnal and beaten to death by angry community members at Tshifulanani.
The mob-justice killing of a man accused of theft at Tshifulanani Fhasi Ha-Bada outside Thohoyandou took another turn when his family said the community had killed an innocent and God-fearing man who could not steal or hurt a fly.
The man, Mr Alugumi Phandavhudzi (37) of Tshisahulu, a well-known photographer in Gauteng, met the wrath of angry residents, who accused him of theft, beat him and set him on fire. The man succumbed to his injuries. His car was also set on fire. The incident happened last Thursday afternoon.
His killing is not an isolated incident where angry community members vented their anger on alleged criminals and killed them.
The same week, on Tuesday, angry residents at Tshisahulu attacked and killed a man who had stolen a plasma TV set at his sister's house. He was burnt at his sister's gate by the angry mob. The killing has left the community having mixed feelings and with many unanswered questions.
Many believe the community had been fast in meting instant justice without first getting the facts, while others say they are tired of crime and the sight of criminals roaming the streets freely.
The dead man's family have a different story to tell about the man. His uncle, Mr Freddy Mulaudzi, said the man was a God-fearing man who would not even hurt a fly and that stealing was far from him. He said the man, who was a photographer, arrived from Gauteng last week for the Easter holidays.
"On Monday, I received a call from his wife, telling me things were not right with him mentally. On Tuesday, I went to his home at Tshisahulu where we had a talk and he ended up taking me home to Khumbe, using his car. While at my place around past eight in the evening, I noticed that he was not well, and I called the police to come and take him, but they never arrived.
“We are very saddened as a family and this is one wound that will not heal easily. Imagine your loved one being killed after having done nothing wrong. We have tried to find out where he stole goods, but we could not even be shown the place. We also tried to find out as to what had happened to the goods he was said to have stolen, but no one is prepared to show us the loot.”
Mulaudzi said they had learnt that the man was prophesising at a house when a traditional leader in the area arrived and took the deceased away. He was later killed.
The killing has not only affected the family, but the whole community with many questioning procedures taken before suspected criminals are punished. After his death, social media were abuzz with comments condemning mob justice.
Thohoyandou police spokesperson Sgt Vuledzani Dathi confirmed the incident. He warned the community against taking the law into their own hands. “Mob justice is a crime on its own and we urge the community to hand over criminals to the police, where they will be arrested and prosecuted.”
He added that the police had opened a murder case and were appealing to whoever has information about the incident to come forth and help in the investigations.
“Those who might have information which can assist us in arresting the culprits can contact the Thohoyandou SAPS at 015 960 1000, or 08600 10111,” he said.
Date:04 May 2019 - By: Elmon Tshikhudo
Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and has since been a familiar name among the newspaper's readers.