It is reported that Piet Retief police members were called to a scene of mob justice at the local Taxi Rank, where two men were being assaulted by a group of community members who were accusing the duo of committing common robberies in and around the Taxi Rank.
As the members were trying to calm the angry mob, a shot went off from the crowd and hit Sergeant Patrick Mthobeni. He was rushed to hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. When the mob dispersed, one of the suspects was found lying dead on the ground and the other one was rushed to hospital where he also passed away.
In a separate incident, the member that attended the mob justice incident with Sargent Mthobeni, Constable Nkosingiphile Ninela, arrived home after work where he was involved in an altercation with a relative. It is alleged that the relative used the member’s service firearm and shot him several times in the back. Constable Ninela is in hospital where he is reported to be in a critical condition while his relative has been arrested for attempted murder.
The Acting National Commissioner has condemned and discouraged the actions of the members of the community of Piet Retief who decided to take the law into their own hands by assaulting the two men suspected of committing a crime. “Vigilantism is tantamount to undermining the authority of the state. The police are mandated by the Constitution of the Republic to uphold the rule of law. Those community members who participated in an act that left a police officer and two people dead, will be traced and arrested. The Province has instituted the 72-Hour Activation Plan to ensure that all relevant role players have been mobilized,” cautioned the Acting National Commissioner.
Lieutenant General Mgwenya went on to wish the injured member a speedy recovery while also sending a message of condolences to the family of the deceased member. “I appeal to the conscience of law abiding citizens to work with the police in the fight against crime and to report the people responsible for the murders of a police officer and two community members. I am glad that the person responsible for the attempted murder of Constable Ninela is behind bars where he will be facing the full might of the law,” said Lieutenant General Mgwenya.
Anyone with information that can lead to the arrest of the perpetrators is requested to contact the SAPS Crime Stop number 08600 10111, all information received will be treated with confidentiality.
Although this is an official statement issued by the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, there are a lot of rumours surrounding what really happened on Saturday.
We cannot confirm the accuracy of this statement.