Two male suspects believed to be livestock owners and members of a vigilante group have been arrested in connection with a kidnapping, shooting, and severe assault incident in the Sekhukhune policing precinct.
The arrests were made on Saturday, 18 November 2023, during a joint operation by the Tactical Response Team (TRT), Public Order Policing (POPS), Sekhukhune District, Rakgoadi, and Dennilton Crime Prevention members.
The incident began when the police received reports of a shooting and kidnapping at Letebejane village under the Rakgoadi precinct.
Upon arrival, it was discovered that two male victims had been kidnapped at gunpoint by a group of male suspects who accused them of being involved in stock theft.
The victims were then assaulted and taken to different locations in the Rakgoadi policing area, where they were forced to reveal the whereabouts of the stolen livestock.
The police were able to trace the suspects to Tompi-Seleka village, where they found some of them assaulting and burning the victims in the bushes. The police managed to rescue the victims and called for emergency medical services.
Unfortunately, one of the victims, a 51-year-old man named Serutle Mohlala, was pronounced dead upon arrival at the scene. The second victim is currently receiving medical attention at an undisclosed hospital.
During the operation, two suspects, aged 33 and 59, were arrested. The police also seized five motor vehicles that were left behind by other suspects who fled the scene on foot.
The two arrested suspects will appear before the Motetema Magistrates Court on Monday, 20 November 2023, to face charges of murder, attempted murder, and kidnapping.
The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Limpopo, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe, strongly condemned the acts of vigilantism that led to murder.
“We denounce the vigilante groups who are a law unto themselves, thus conducting themselves with impunity.
“These acts have the potential to escalate the murder rate in the Province, and the police shall stop at nothing to arrest these criminals as part of our concerted efforts to reduce crime,” said Lieutenant General Hadebe.
Lieutenant General Hadebe concluded by instructing the multi-disciplinary teams to track down and apprehend all the suspects, ensuring that they face the full force of the law. A manhunt for the suspects who are still at large is currently underway.
The police are urging anyone with information to contact the Investigating Officer Sergeant Suzan Mashiloane on 071 239 4674, Crime Stop number 08600 10111, the nearest police station, or use the MySAPSApp.
Police investigations into the incident are ongoing.