Gruesome mob death for petty thief

In the video that Maritzburg Sun has in its possession, the young man can be seen lying in a gutter while residents take turns pelting him with rocks, hacking him with a pick axe and agarden hoe and eventually dropping a large concrete block on his head while dozens of onlookers bay for more blood.

The incident happened last Wednesday in Dambuza when community members accused Nathi Mthembu of stealing pots, a TV and radio and some other household items from a home in the area and selling the items to other residents in the area.

Maritzburg Sun visited the area and spoke to residents in a bid to piece together Mthembu’s last moments. Residents were not at all fazed by the gruesome killing saying that Mthembu had brought it upon himself.

“When news of the theft spread residents in the area began rounding up known thiefs and began demanding to know who was responsible for the burglary. The first group of known-thieves denied being involved and they were allowed to leave. However when the second group of two young men were rounded up,the community demanded answers and started getting angry. The community members were furious at the two, and they focused on one in particular who they started beating  up until he admitted that it was him who stole a set of pots. They continued to beat him up while dragging him to point out his friends who were also involved,” said residents who witnessed the entire ordeal unfold.


The video goes on to show the horrific assault of Mthembu. The assault on the other victim wasn’t captured in the clip that has been circulating on social media. It is not known at which stage Mthembu succumbed to his injuries but throughout the clip the crowd bays for more blood swearing at the lifeless body and demanding that he confesses to all his crimes. Ward 21 Councillor Bhekithemba Mkhize condemned act of vigilantism but said that housebreaking was rampant in the area.

“We don’t encourage the community to take law into their own hands  but  urge them to catch and report the criminals to the police,” said the councillor who suggested that there was a link between the rise in crime in the area and the recent closure of eMatsheni Beer Hall in Retief Street by the municipality. “These people have come back here and they break into houses at night and run away in the morning. What is more painful is that these   kids who are doing this are coming from our community,” Mkhize added.  He called for regular police patrols both day and night in the area.

Mthembu’s grieving family  said they could not say anything publically as family elders still had to be consulted. However instead of compassion for the family and regret that a young man was brutally killed, residents in the area say Mtehmbu deserved to die. “He was stealing in order to finance his Whoonga addiction. I don’t feel   sorry for him, he deserved to die. You can’t go around stealing from people. Now we can sleep peacefully not that he was the only thief but he was worse than them all,” said another community member.

Police Spokesperson in Plessislaer police station Captain Musa Ntombela confirmed the incident adding that the matter is under investigation.

Lethiwe Makhanya and Bongeka Sibisi

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