Troubles in Diepsloot: Seven set alight in grim ‘mob justice’ incidents [Watch]
Seven people have been killed - some 'stoned and necklaced' - in two apparent vigilante attacks in Diepsloot.
In this file photo, a police officer stands guard in Diepsloot during Police Minister Bheki Cele’s second visit in two days after Elvis Nyathi was killed and burnt in a mob attack on 7 April 2022. Photo: Jacques Nelles
Diepsloot is back in the headlines after seven people were brutally killed in what appears to be two separate instances of mob violence.
The first incident which rocked the crime-ridden township north of Johannesburg took place on Friday evening, and the second in the early hours of Saturday morning.
“Preliminary investigation suggests that in both incidents, the victims were assaulted and burnt by a mob,” said police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo.
Diepsloot ‘vigilante’ killings? Two ‘stoned and necklaced’
City of Joburg public safety MMC Mgcini Tshwaku told News24 that the Joburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) responded to a call about two bodies in the street of Diepsloot’s Extension 13 around 11 pm on Friday.
According to Tshwaku, police officers found that two men had been “stoned and necklaced” upon their arrival at the crime scene.
“Both victims were certified dead on the scene,” he added.
Vigilantism a ‘serious criminal offence’ – Police
Tshwaku said that while the officers were at the scene, they received a call about another attack in Extension 12 where they found another five burnt bodies.
“The motive for the killings cannot be confirmed at this stage. As the police in Gauteng, we strongly condemn acts of vigilantism and the community taking the law into their own hands, as that constitutes a serious criminal offence,” said Masondo.
Disclaimer: The following video contains potentially sensitive material.
Diepsloot protests for police action against crime
Calling on the police to attend to the high crime levels in the township, Diepsloot Community Forum leader Loyiso Toyiya told EWN that residents recently complained about several break-ins.
According to him, the victims were accused of terrorising the community.
“When we were seeking a permanent solution, asking government to intervene in these killings and robberies happening in Diepsloot, we were avoiding these kinds of incidents,” he added.
Toyiya is referring to Diepsloot residents embarking on several protests in June this year against the high levels of crime plaguing the community.
In September, the community marched to the Diepsloot police station to hand over a memorandum of demands after 11 people were reportedly killed in the township two weeks prior. This along with the bombing and robbing of three petrol stations in the space of three days.
At that time, another community leader, Lefa Nkala, stated that criminals had turned Diepsloot into “a shooting range”.
“If they want to learn how to use guns, they know that they must come to Diepsloot. We are under siege,” Nkala said.
Diepsloot rapist and robber gets five life terms
Hours before the “stoning and necklacing” incident on Friday night, a rapist and robber who terrorised the community of Diepsloot for two years was handed a lengthy jail sentence by the South Gauteng High Court.
Happy Mukwevho was handed five life terms plus a 222-year sentence for various offences, including rape, kidnapping and robbery.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said Mukwevho embarked on his reign of terror in Diepsloot in February 2018.
“Mukwevho committed these offences in the company of his friends. Their mode of operation included breaking into the complainants’ places while they were asleep.”
“They used a side cutter to break the chain. They would rape the women and steal money, cellphones and other valuables. One of the complainants was removed from her place and taken to a dumping site where she was raped.
“Some of the complainants were familiar with the accused.”
Mukwevho was arrested on 1 November 2021 and linked to the crimes by DNA collected from his victims.