Three people killed in Comet, Ipid investigates police conduct

Fed-up community members took matters into their own hands and hunted for the suspects.

Three people died in three separate but related incidents in Comet.

One person was burnt to death, another shot dead by police after a gang of criminals gunned a family’s husband down (as he was protecting his daughter from what appeared to be an attempted kidnapping) and an attempted hijacking during a house robbery in Comet.

While the Boksburg SAPS spokesperson Sergeant Ntsako Ledwaba confirmed the three incidents after being approached for comment, she did not give the details surrounding these incidents.
Residents who asked not to be identified for fear of victimisation said the situation culminated in a mob justice attack after a gang of criminals killed a resident, Johannes Batsietseng (59) on April 25.
According to information gathered, about five men ambushed the family (father, mother and daughter) as they had just alighted from their car and were making their way into the house.
The intruders took the father’s personal belongings, demanded the car keys and said they were taking the daughter.

To protect his daughter, Batsietseng told them they could take whatever they wanted, but not his daughter.
It was at that point that the criminals shot him, and thereupon abandoned their kidnapping and hijacking missions. They fired shots as they were at the gate, fleeing the crime scene.
Batsietseng was rushed to hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

Residents burn suspect alive
Fed-up community members took matters into their own hands and hunted for the suspects.
They tracked down two men believed to be involved in the attack.

The pair, described as Zimbabwean nationals, were at a local shebeen before residents mobilised to catch them.
After questioning, the pair was reportedly taken to the nearby community sports grounds where, after further questioning, they were reportedly assaulted in a suspected mob justice attack.

One of the stones used to attack the suspect.

One suspect managed to break free from the crowd and tried to escape. However, a group of residents who gave chase caught him not far from the sports grounds. He was beaten and stoned.
Boksburg police responded and found a group of hundreds of community members attacking the man who tried to escape, while another group was at the time setting the second suspect on fire.
Police could not rescue him as they were still waiting for backup.

An ambulance took the severely burnt suspect to the hospital, but he later died.
Meanwhile, the other suspect ran to the police van for protection, but the angry crowd reportedly continued to pelt hard objects at him.

Police gun down resident
According to residents, one police officer, a sergeant, allegedly approached one of the residents who were pelting stones, but the resident started running away before the officer opened fire, resulting in the death of the resident.

One of the suspects tried to escape the mob, but he was caught and physically assaulted before the police rescued him.

However, a police statement, seen by the Advertiser, suggests that the officer, armed with an R5 rifle, opened fire after someone in the crowd pointed a firearm at him.


Independent Police Investigative Directorate spokesperson Phaladi Shuping confirmed the directorate was investigating the police conduct.
So far, no one has been arrested in connection with all these incidents.
The suspect who survived the mob justice attack was not placed under police guard in hospital, as he was apparently not deemed a suspect by the police.

The grieving Batsietseng family expressed disappointment at the police as they had hoped that the suspect would be kept under police guard until he was fit to answer for his alleged involvement in the murder.
“The police are not helpful. Instead of dealing with criminals decisively, they are using heavy-handed actions against people who are tired of being terrorised by criminals in the neighbourhood.
“They have our statement, and one suspect reportedly confessed to the community that he killed my husband, and even asked for forgiveness. Why was he set free?” asked the deceased’s wife, Maria.
The mother pointed out that her daughter, after witnessing the violent attack, battled to fall asleep because the attack spooked her badly.

Residents of Comet went wild, heavily assaulted two suspects and burnt one of them after they were accused of killing Mothusiemang Johannes Batsietseng (59). He was shot dead as he was protecting his daughter against abduction during a house robbery.

Also known in the community as Bro’ Chippa, Batsietseng’s family described him as a real people-person who always enjoyed cracking jokes, a loving and caring father who was protective of his family, particularly his children and wife.
Batsietseng was laid to rest on May 11.

Also Read: Comet village under siege from rapists, robbers


Related Articles

Back to top button