Zimbabwean Citizens Among Victims in South African Vigilante Attack
5 December 2023
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In a shocking incident in one of South Africa’s crime-ridden townships, seven men fell victim to an apparent vigilante attack targeting suspected gang members. Disturbingly, two of the victims have been identified as Zimbabwean citizens, adding an international dimension to the tragic event.

One of the identified victims is Talent Moyo, a 27-year-old man from Kezi, Zimbabwe. Moyo and his yet-to-be-named friend, believed to be from Tsholotsho, were reportedly menial workers in the area. The fatal encounter occurred as they were on their way to a church service.

According to accounts from the late Moyo’s family, the two men were intercepted by a mob dealing out justice to five suspected gang members terrorizing the community. Bound together with tires and ropes, the victims pleaded for their lives but were mercilessly beaten and burnt to death.

Mrs. Sibonginkosi Banda, Moyo’s aunt, expressed the family’s grief, noting that arrangements were underway to positively identify Moyo through DNA tests for repatriation to his rural home in Kezi. She described Moyo as a devout churchgoer who was planning to marry in December.

South Africa, particularly suburbs like Diepsloot, grapples with an alarming murder rate. Diepsloot, home to over 350,000 people north of Johannesburg, faces high rates of violence and crime, often with minimal government intervention.

The police have initiated a murder investigation into the charred bodies of the seven young men. Preliminary findings suggest that in both incidents, the victims were assaulted and burned by the enraged mob. South African police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo condemned acts of vigilantism, emphasizing that the community taking the law into their own hands constitutes a serious criminal offense.

Residents in Diepsloot expressed frustration over rising crime, including robberies, leading to heightened tensions in the township. Protests occurred earlier over charges against community leaders who led demonstrations in response to a series of murders and robberies, underscoring the community’s demand for increased security measures.

South Africa, with a concerning increase in its murder rate, faces the challenge of addressing vigilantism while grappling with broader issues of crime and public safety.