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The late Abraham Mulovhedzi from Khubvi village, who was killed at the hands of community members for alleged theft. Photo supplied.

Man killed in vigilante attack, body dumped in dam

 

Fed-up with the prevalent crime, Vhembe residents seem to be resorting more and more to vigilantism in a desperate attempt to rid them of the criminals in their areas.

Although many of these illegal crime busters often end up in jail, people do not seem to care about the consequences of taking the law into own hands.

One of the most brutal instances of vigilantism involved Abraham Mulovhedzi (33) from Khubvi village, outside Thohoyandou, who was accused of stealing from a local hardware store. Certain community members decided to take it upon themselves to “punish” him, so they kidnapped Mulovhedzi, beat him to death and dumped his body in a nearby dam. His body was only found almost a week later, with his hands tied behind his back and severe wounds to his head.

The incident evoked even more anger among the community, with residents threatening to take the law into own hands in turn, should the suspects not be arrested.

According to Mulovhedzi’s sister, Ms Jacqueline Makhuvha, her brother left home on Thursday, 24 February. “We were used to his escapades. He would often disappear for days to visit his wife at Matangari, so we were not even worried when we did not see him for a few days. We thought he would eventually return, but that was never to be. Last week Tuesday (1 March) we were informed that his body had been found floating in a dam far from our home. We could not believe it until his body was retrieved from the water,” she said.

“What really pains us is that we are told he was found [stealing] at the hardware store, but instead of calling the police, they [the suspects] decided to brutally beat him and pour acid over his private parts. Then they dumped his body into the water to conceal the evidence. My brother died a terrible death, and it will be hard for us to forget,” she said.

She added that the family still had many unanswered questions relating to her brother’s death. “The people who did this are our neighbours. We saw the video they [the suspects] took while they tortured him. He is screaming and begging for mercy and called out the names of people we live with. One of them is our pastor. How can we look each other in the eye again after this? We believe there is more to this killing, and until they [the suspects] explain to us why they killed him, we won’t be able to get any closure,” Makhuvha said.

Two suspects, Nyambeni Makhipha and Simon Radzilani, both aged 35, were arrested for Mulovhedzi’s murder and appeared in the Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, 8 March. They will remain in custody until 11 March 2022 for further investigations.

The family members were able to bury Mulovhedzi on Sunday, 6 March, with the generous help of the community.

In another incident a few weeks ago, nine men who professed to be the community policing forum from Tshivhilwi were sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of a local man. In executing their “duty” of safeguarding the community, the men arrested a man for the alleged theft of a cellphone. Instead of taking the man to the police, they beat severely him, and he died from his injuries.

 

 

Date:10 March 2022 - By: Elmon Tshikhudo

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 was a permanent part of the news team until 2019.

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