This is after a local sangoma was necklaced on Sunday in Khutsong and two suspected gangsters were stoned to death in Carletonville Extension 5. Police confirmed that three more people were burnt to death in the two townships, placing the vigilante toll at six.
A Khutsong resident yesterday recalled her three hours of horror as she watched the necklaced sangoma slowly burn to death.
The frightened woman, who did not want to be named, lives near the sangoma who was accused of gangsterism. She said community members put a burning tyre round his neck and left him to die.
“There was nothing we could do, but watch as he died in pain,” she said. “That was around 10am on Sunday. He laid there burning till about 1pm.” The man was identified as James Magagula, 61, from the Chris Hani Informal Settlement.
About 400 Khutsong male community members met on Sunday to discuss gangsterism in the area, and later began to search for known gangsters living in the township.
The West Rand vigilante killings come less than two weeks after one of the members of a gang known as Ama Wrong Turn in Sebokeng was attacked and hacked with a panga by angry residents who said they had had enough.
Fearful of speaking to the media, Khutsong and Carlenton residents said there were weekly incidents of gang violence, including rape, in the area.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said what was still worrying was that the perpetrators were often seen as heroes by some members of communities after such “barbaric” killings.
“Police are in hot pursuit of these so-called ‘heroes’ because there is nothing heroic when you burn and kill people,” Mthethwa said. Police said the two men set alight by Khutsong community members were aged between 20 and 24.
They allegedly belonged to the Casanova Gang. Both died on the scene. In Carletonville Extension 5, various alleged gangsters were assaulted and two were stoned by community members. One died on the scene and the other in the Carletonville Hospital. A sixth burnt body was found yesterday morning.
Following conflicting reports about the number of deaths, police spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila confirmed that six people had died. Three of the victims were identified yesterday. They are Akhona Ngwati, Mojalefa Maleho, 23, and Makume Makume all from Khutsong South.
No arrests have been made.