JOHANESBURG — A blood-smeared boulder outside the Mathwasa household is the only remaining evidence of the cruel death that Nkululeko Mathwasa suffered at the hands of a mob in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg.
Mathwasa (30), a Zimbabwean national, was beaten to death after being dragged from his house at about 11pm on Sunday night by a mob who accused him of theft.
He suffered spinal and head injuries, and his lifeless body was left lying outside his shack for more than two hours.
His uncle, David Mathwasa, said he was not home at the time of the incident. However, he said he was shocked at the false allegations that were made against his nephew.
“He was not a man with many friends, and he did not hang out with bad company,” said Mathwasa.
The elderly man said he was now terrified of walking the dusty streets of Diepsloot.
“I do not know whether they have a vendetta against my family and me. We came here from Zimbabwe looking for a better life,” said Mathwasa.
Nkululeko’s friend and neighbour, Siphiwe Gweva (29), said he was traumatised from witnessing his friend’s gruesome death.
“They hit him with anything they could find, they took branches from the tree in his yard and hit him with them, and with boulders and a golf club,” said Gweva. “He died in front of my eyes.”
Gweva said he was powerless to act, fearing the crowd would turn on him.
David Mathwasa said the family did not have funds to bury Nkululeko. However, he said he was expecting more family to come from Zimbabwe to help prepare for the funeral.
Down the road from the Mathwasa’s, another family is grieving.
After the mob attacked Nkululeko, they hurried to the home of Blessing Tshuma, also from Zimbabwe.
Tshuma was also accused of being a thief, and beaten to death. According to a relative, who asked not to be named, Tshuma was yanked out of bed as he was sleeping with his wife, Olga, at about midnight.
“They (the mob) told him to get his brother, who they accused of being a thief. He told them he had done nothing wrong and knew nothing of his brother’s affairs. That was when he was dragged through the streets by the mob,” said the shocked family member.
Tshuma was a house painter and also worked as a gardener in suburbs around Fourways.
Two other men were badly beaten on the same night. They were also accused of theft.
“They were rushed to Tembisa Hospital. They are in a stable but critical condition,” said Johannesburg
emergency services spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi.
Police spokesperson Katlego Mogale said two suspects had been arrested, and that they would face murder, attempted murder and kidnapping charges in the Randburg Magistrates’ Court today.
“We are expecting to make more arrests,” she said.