North West police provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane has condemned in the strongest possible terms a mob justice incident that took place in Bakerville outside Lichtenburg on Monday.
Police received a business robbery complaint at about 7.45am at a tuck shop at Bakerville, police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said in a statement.
According to information police received, the victim had just opened the tuck shop when an unconfirmed number of unknown suspects confronted him.
The suspects allegedly robbed the victim of an undisclosed amount of cash and cellphones before fleeing the scene in a white Toyota Corolla.
A chase ensued after members of the community responded when they heard the victim screaming for help.
“It is alleged that one of the suspects who was in one of the getaway cars that was parked not far from the scene was apprehended, stoned to death and allegedly burnt by members of the community,” Mokgwabone said.
According to Mokgwabone, the incident was captured on video and circulated on social media platforms.
“Upon response, the police were confronted by violent members of the community who in the process allegedly burnt the suspects’ vehicle. Police later managed to arrest two suspects, aged 37 and 46. A search for the other suspects continues.”
Mokgwabone said a separate case of murder had been opened for investigation, but no one had been arrested.
Motswenyane warned that taking the law into one’s own hands was unlawful and would not be tolerated.
“The public must understand and accept that while we need their support in the fight against crime, the rule of law must always be applied and obeyed. Taking someone’s life is a criminal act and punishable by law,” Motswenyane said.
“The incident of mob justice which occurred [on Monday] in Bakerville cannot be allowed and will eventually land those who are responsible into trouble with the law.
“We plead with the public to work with legally established structures such as Community Police Forum in the fight against crime,” said Motswenyane.
She further urged the public to use social media platforms responsibly.