Twelve taxi operators from Boitumelo near Bloemhof, North West, appeared in court on Monday on charges of murder, related to the deaths of two alleged gangsters and the attempted murder of four others.
Olebogeng Ndlovu, 28, Ivan Leonard, 31, Mxholeli Bongola, 41, Poliri Mohlolo, 26, Isaac Ndlovu, 29, Ishmael Ngubane ,29, Nkululeko Nkencele, 48, James Qankase, 36, Jeremah Bonokwane, 20, Boitumelo Magage, 25, Daniel Qangase, 50, and Mohau Motswana, 43, allegedly beat the six men to death using spades, pangas, sjamboks, sticks and other objects.
According to a statement from the South African Police Service (SAPS), the men, who operate taxis in Boitumelo, decided to take the law into their own hands in September 2018, when they picked up six alleged members of the SVK gang, who had apparently been terrorising the community for a significant amount of time.
They took their victims to the Boitumelo taxi rank, where the violent assaults apparently took place.
“During the assault, Mooketsi Mogapi, 33, died on the scene and Teboho Thoo, 21, died four days later in hospital. Shadrack Mokonyane, France Watkins, Kashiso Mahashe and Thabang Leepile were severely injured but survived the onslaught,” the police’s statement reads.
Mahashe testified on Monday about the injuries he sustained during the assault, after two of his fellow victims had previously presented the court with their testimony.
He told the court how the attack continues to affect his livelihood, and spoke of it as a “near-death experience”.
All the accused except Mohau Motswana are currently out on bail. Motswana remains in custody on another, unrelated matter. The case against the men will continue on Tuesday.