Gauteng police have launched a manhunt for two people who they claim led the brutal killing of eight people in Zandspruit, west of Johannesburg, last month.
On 17 May 2021, nine young men were severely assaulted in Zandspruit with an assortment of weapons, before being doused with paraffin and petrol and torched.
Four of the victims died on the scene and four others died in various hospitals. One of the victims remains in a critical condition in hospital.
The victims were fetched from their homes and frog-marched to a soccer pitch with their hands bound behind their backs. Some of the victims were dressed in only their underwear.
Six people are expected to appear in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on 9 June 2021 for a bail application.
On Monday, Police Minister Bheki Cele said the two people sought have been identified as “Given” and “Dube”. He said they disappeared from the area after the attack.
Cele was reacting to threats by Olievenhoutbosch residents who told him they had lost hope in police.
Residents have vowed to take the law into their own hands should local police fail to arrest criminals they claim are terrorising them.
Cele advised the residents not to take the law into their own hands.
The minister said when he visited Zandspruit recently, he asked the community policing forum and patrollers where they were when the victims were kidnapped from their homes and killed.
“The community of Zandspruit and the police both dropped the ball. Police came, stood and watched (while the mob killed the victims). I have told those officers that they don’t belong to the SAPS and they must go elsewhere,” Cele said.
Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela said they were looking for two people who mobilised residents to attack the victims.
Mawela said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was working closely with police investigators.
“The surviving victim is assisting us with our investigations. People who take the law into their own hands don’t have a space in democratic South Africa. We call on our people to have confidence in their government, police, justice system and work closely with the police.
“We plead with residents of Olievenhoutbosch to work with us. They must not lose hope in us. We are going to deal with criminality in Olievenhoutbosch. We will soldier on and win the fight against crime,” Mawela said.