Eight people, including a 72-year-old, accused of kidnapping, murdering and setting alight three men appeared in the Mdutjana Magistrate’s Court in Mpumalanga on Monday.
The incident happened on 15 March in Naganeng village in the Dennilton area outside Groblersdal.
The bodies of Owen Ncube, 31, Salos Sithole, 23, and Lovemore Basera, 20, were burnt beyond recognition.
Police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said a passerby informed police of the bodies and officers immediately went to the scene joined by emergency medical services personnel.
“Upon arrival at the scene, they discovered the bodies of three men burnt beyond recognition and a burnt Hyundai truck next to their charred remains,” Ngoepe said.
“It is suspected that the deceased were severely assaulted before being set alight as there were several stones found around the scene.
“Police then opened three cases of murder. The motive behind this brutal killing is the subject of ongoing police investigations but mob justice cannot be ruled out.”
The eight people were arrested by members of a multidisciplinary task team comprised of the Groblesdal Cluster Crime Intelligence Unit and K9 Unit, the Dennilton Crime Information Analysis Centre, the Tekkie Squad and detectives.
They are Llu Time Lebotse, 29; Bethuel Lentsoane, 31; Thabo Maile, 33; Jefrey Mashifane, 38; Godfrey Phasha, 41; Piet Mashabela, 51; Solly Ramoshaba, 55; and Sarah Selahle, 72.
“They were arrested in the early hours of Sunday at Mpheleng and Naganeng villages outside Groblersdal. The suspects were positively linked to the case,” Ngoepe said.
“The suspects are facing charges of kidnapping and murder. Their case was postponed to 17 April for a formal bail application and further police investigations.”