It was Friday afternoon when I was in my neighbour’s house and we were drinking wine and watching television. My mom had just came back from work and she wasn’t feeling well so she texted me to come home and make something for her to eat. It was raining outside but I ran home and I dished up for her and went back. On my way back I saw four strange men around 8pm at a newly built house next to mine carrying electrical appliances. They had a fridge, flat screen television and stove among other appliances. I greeted the men and went past them as I ran home. My brother was following me, he was going to the shop to buy some cigarettes. The men approached him and asked him to help them carry the stuff to the car.
He helped these men carry the stuff to the car and went to the shop, later he realised there had been a break in and the men he had helped were the culprits. Some people saw him helping the men and he tried explaining that he did not know the men or the fact that they were stealing. No one believed him.
The owner of the house who had been robbed, Banele, in his late twenties, pulled out a gun on my brother and told him to talk the ‘truth’. The community mob beat up my brother and his friends turned their backs on him. One of the people in the mob called my mother around 10pm after viciously beating up my brother and pleaded with to come. I was dead drunk when my brother needed me the most.
My mother went to the mob and pleaded with the mob to let my brother go and suggested they would talk in the morning. She came back with him and they slept. The next morning my mom woke up and told me what had happened and I was so angry at myself for not being there. She took my brother to the hospital as he was injured.
Banele called my mother and told her that the stolen stuff equated to the sum of R11 000 and he wanted that money before the end of the day, otherwise he would kill my brother. My mother cried as she could not afford that money to save her son; none of us could. Banele threatened that if we called the cops he would be coming for the whole family. That day my mom and brother did not come back home, they slept at my aunt’s house.
My brother was ‘wanted’ in the community and Banele threatened to kill my whole family. Everyone distanced themselves from us; this was when I realised that there was no such thing as a friend. All our friends turned against us and plotted with the mob to come to my home and burn us inside while sleeping. I would pray day and night, seeking for protection from the good Lord but I felt really helpless.
Banele later found out that his items were stolen by a guy with whom he gambled. Apparently he owed him approximately R5000 and he took his belongings as repayment of his money. Banele did not even have the decency to come and apologise at home for the trauma he put us through, he moved back to Ntuzuma without a word until now. My brother is currently living with grandma in the village and is not ready to come back home; the trauma he suffered is too much. We as a family are still recovering but I will never heal and I will never call anyone a ‘friend’. Family first all the time.
Tell us: What do you think about mob justice?