A Siyabuswa councillor and seven members of the community policing forum who beat a young suspected drug dealer to death have been convicted in the North Gauteng High Court on charges of murder and kidnapping.
Acting Judge Prince Manyathi found Councillor Klaas Mtsweni, 36, Buti Mtsweni, 53, Joseph Baloyi, 51, Dinah Skosana, 32, Ivy Masombuka, 30, Bongani Matsimela, 23, Zilani Msiza, 58, and Senzo Mhlanga, 25, guilty of the August 2015 kidnapping and murder of Mbo Mahlangu.
Mahlangu, who was suspected of dealing in the street drug nyaope, was taken to a sports field one night where the accused – all members of the local CPF – assaulted him with a sjambok, shovels and an iron bar.
Although he was still alive after the assault, a policeman first took the injured man to a house which the police searched, but they were unable to find weapons. He died before he could reach a hospital.
The accused all denied they were part of the mob who attacked Mahlangu, but the judge accepted the evidence of a concerned community member, Patrick Nkosi, that they had beaten the man.
He accepted Nkosi’s evidence that the attack took place under a bright street light, that he knew all of the accused and had seen them taking turns to assault Mahlangu.
Nkosi testified that Mahlangu was also chained up two days, but managed to escape.
When community members tried to stop the assault, they were chased away and when Nkosi told them to rather call the police, Mtsweni said they were tired of this “nyaope boy” and would deal with him themselves.
Nkosi also heard one of the accused telling Mahlangu they were tired of him and were going to kill him.
The vicious assault went on for almost three hours and a sock was put in his mouth so he could not cry out. Nkosi eventually left the scene because he could not stomach seeing the assault any more.
Judge Manyathi said even if Mahlangu had committed an offence, no one had the right to take the law into their own hands. The trial will proceed next week.