Police and pathologists removing the body from the street where it was set alight.
A movie-like scene developed at Maniini outside Thohoyandou when a wanted criminal ran to a house in the village and sought refuge there.
The man, allegedly a notorious thug, was chased by a mob believed to be his home boys from Zimbabwe, who were fed up by his evil deeds. They chased him from Thohoyandou and caught up with him at the village.
It is alleged that the thug had last week stabbed another man to death at a tavern in town and residents of areas around Thohoyandou complained about his criminality and blamed him for an upsurge of crime in their areas.
The man allegedly sought refuge at a house in the village and ordered the owner to get out and call the police. After a fierce battle with the mob, the man was finally taken out of the house and attacked with an assortment of weapons before being set alight. It is also said that before he was hauled out of the house, the man stabbed a local man with a sharp instrument.
The man who was stabbed resides in the village and seemingly did not understand what was going on when he accosted the thug who was holding a big knife. The incident happened on Monday at around 16:00.
Word had it that the man, a very notorious thug in the Sibasa and Thohoyandou area, had killed a person in Thohoyandou last week. He was also accused by the mob of being involved in many of the robberies in the area.
The ugly scene also left the house he was hiding in full of blood and badly damaged with the roof windows and doors broken. House owner, Ms Sharon Nedzamba said she was in the house doing some house chores when the man came rushing in, ordering her to get out and to call the police.
“It happened so fast that I did not think twice and rushed out with my children. Outside was a mob that was baying for his blood and we just stood helpless at the street while the mob thrashed our house with the man refusing to get out of the house,” she said.
Nedzamba said that she lost a lot during the incident. “There is blood everywhere in the house. All my furniture is broken, doors and windows are also broken and this cost thousands of rands,” she said.
The injured local man was taken to the local hospital with severe injuries.
A bystander who did not want to be identified said he saw the drama unfolding. “This man was fighting a big mob like a wounded lion. He was throwing stones and was wielding a big knife. He swore that he would not die alone and that he would kill two people before he could be killed,” said the bystander.
A large group of locals, some of whom were intoxicated and swearing at police, had gathered in no time. They stood there until the body was collected at about 21:00.
Residents say they will no longer tolerate crime in their area. “There is a lot of crime in this area and surrounding villages. If we do not stand up as a community and clean this area of crime, no one will.” They argue that police are not doing their work, “because criminals are arrested today and tomorrow you see them roaming the streets. This is the best medicine,” one villager said.
At the time of going to press, Limpopo police spokesperson Lt Col Moatshe Ngoepe had not come back with comments on the incident.