Neighbour shouted ‘burn them’ – Zandspruit mob attack victim’s aunt recounts

A Wednesday attack on a group of young men by residents has so far claimed the lives of six people, while three others remained in hospital.

The Zandspruit informal settlement. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG – The family of one of the victims of the attack on nine men in Zandspruit said their son was murdered like an animal by the very people they call neighbours.

The group was taken to a local sports ground in the early hours of Wednesday morning, where they were beaten up by angry residents who accused them of terrorising the community.

The attack by residents has so far claimed the lives of six people, while three others remained in hospital. Three people were arrested.

READ: Zandspruit residents urged to report crimes to Saps, not turn to vigilantism

Eyewitness News spoke to one of the families on Thursday who confirmed that their loved one was among the men who were rounded up, assaulted, doused with petrol, and had tyres placed over them before they were set alight.

Irvin Malley (32) died in hospital on Thursday after he was forcefully taken to a sports field where they tied his hands with wire and set him alight in front of some community members and his family.

His aunt Annie Sithole relived the ordeal only a few meters away from where her nephew was burnt alive.

Sithole said she and other families pleaded with the community to show mercy to the group of men.

“They came here at the grounds, there at the corner there. The boys were bleeding to death, and the cops were here. Even when they burned the kids there, the cops were here, and they didn’t do anything. The boys were set alight while the cops were here.”

ALSO READ: Zandspruit community blames police for mob justice deaths

Sithole said her nephew died in a shameful state at the hands of the police who she said stood idly by while the group was assaulted.

“We know our kids are doing terrible things, but how do you feel today? Even the lady who was saying ‘burn them, hit them’ – how do you feel today? The other lady went to the crowd yesterday, she was kneeling down and praying for her son’s life, and they told her ‘go and pray at your home’.”

WATCH: Safety MEC Mazibuko: Zandspruit killings were acts of vigilantism

Meanwhile, Gauteng MEC for Community Safety Faith Mazibuko has called for calm in the Zandspruit community following a mob attack incident.

The MEC briefly visited the scene of the vigilante attack on Thursday.

Mazibuko has condemned residents for taking the law into their own hands instead of calling law enforcement.

However, community members have accused police of dragging their feet when it comes to addressing crime in the drug-stricken area.

She said what happened in Zandspruit could not be repeated despite the community’s frustration.

Addressing claims that police failed to intervene during the attack, Mazibuko said community members had hurled stones at officers from the Honeydew police station who initially responded to the incident.

The MEC said substance abuse in the community had fuelled criminal activity.

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