Braam crowd administers mob justice to suspected car thief

By: Phumi Ramalepe

Red traffic light stops suspect in his tracks.

‘Die, thief!’ The suspect was brought back to the scene of the alleged crime for more punishment.
Photo: Phumi Ramalepe

A MAN was attacked by a mob in Braamfontein after it was alleged that he had stolen a parked vehicle outside the construction site opposite the Wits Art Museum (WAM) on Thursday morning, January 31.

A Wits Campus Protection Service security guard at WAM who asked not to be named, said he had witnessed the crime and so did numerous construction workers.  

The suspect allegedly got into a white Nissan NP200 which was parked outside the South Point construction site at the corner of Jorissen and Bertha streets, while the owner was delivering documents to the site manager, and drove off. 

“[The construction workers] together with the owner, became hysterical. They saw him from above and they started screaming,” he told Wits Vuvuzela.

The screams were heard by passers-by who saw the suspect driving off in the vehicle.

“The traffic lights closed and he (suspect) drove into an Uber. He then got out of the stationary car and ran away,” the security guard said. 

Spokesperson for the Hillbrow Police Station, detective Mduduzi Zondo, confirmed that a case of attempted theft had been opened.

“The owner was alerted by bystanders who saw the attempted vehicle robbery at around 11:00 and told him people were trying to steal his vehicle,” he said.

“There were three suspects all in all. Two were in a getaway car, a maroon [Renault] Clio. We are investigating and following leads that will lead us to the other two being arrested,” said Zondo.

The 43-year-old suspect was seen fleeing the scene by Wits Vuvuzela and running towards De Korte Street with a large crowd of people pursuing him.

Moments later, the man was brought back to the scene of the alleged crime by the crowd. He was bleeding from the head, arms and legs from the blows of the pursuers.  

“This beating is not enough. Pour petrol on him so we can burn him,” shouted some in the mob.

The beating continued outside WAM for some time until the police arrived some 30 minutes later, apprehended him and took him to the Hillbrow Clinic.  

FEATURED IMAGE: ‘Die, thief!’ The suspect was brought back to the scene of the alleged crime for more punishment. Photo: Phumi Ramalape

OPINION: Active justice


Pearl Pillay is a former SRC member, she is currently studying towards her masters in politics. Photo: Provided

OVER the next few weeks, activists on our campus and indeed on campuses around the world will rally together to commemorate Israeli Apartheid Week 2014 (IAW). Much has been said about this week of global activism, however, very little has been said about how you, an ordinary citizen, fit into this global picture. Why should you care about people on the other side of the world?

IAW is an annual series of events aimed at educating people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid state.

It will take place in over 250 cities around the world and has been endorsed by hundreds of organisations.

[pullquote]”If you were asking why get involved, maybe you should rather be asking why not?”[/pullquote]

This week is crucial in raising awareness and providing information about Zionism, the Palestinian struggle for liberation and, more importantly for us, how their struggle has distinct parallels with ours as South Africans.

You may be wondering what exactly we mean when we say “Israeli Apartheid”.

In the most basic terms, this refers to the deliberate policy of racial or ethnic segregation perpetuated by the state of Israel. Under this system, millions of Palestinians live in conditions which are very similar to that of apartheid South Africa.

No right of free speech, arrest and imprisonment without trial or charge, torture and no right to vote for the government which controls their lives are but a few of the conditions that govern the day-to-day lives of Palestinians.

It is unnecessary to reiterate the long history of oppression which apartheid brought to the people of our country. What is important, however, is highlighting the fact that during our struggle, people around the world mobilised against apartheid South Africa.

Today, more than an opportunity, it becomes our duty to do our part for a people who continue to struggle against Israeli apartheid.

Apartheid is unacceptable – regardless of where you’re from.

We aren’t saying that you should stand on a picket line in the Gaza Strip, but we are asking that you consider the plight of the Palestinian people whilst you enjoy your freedoms. IAW, and indeed the Palestinian solidarity movement, is becoming increasingly fashionable; this is your chance to get involved in a global campaign, to use your Wits experience and contribute to something way beyond Jorrisen street and Empire road.

If you were asking why get involved, maybe you should rather be asking why not?

Pearl Pillay is a former SRC member, she is currently studying towards her masters in politics.



I watched a girl getting mugged and I did nothing.


But, it could have been me.

I could have been the girl getting mugged, desperate for someone to help me and she could have been me- walking past, doing nothing to help.

As she walked past me, a man walked up right next to her and pulled out a knife, showing it her.  He said “ Do you see what I have here” ? Another man walked up to join them and he said to her “ Don’t scream, just give him everything you have”

Two weeks ago, I was outraged at the fact that the crowd around the taxi driver Mido Macia did nothing as he was dragged away by a police bakkie,but here I was two weeks later and no better.

The bio on my blog states that “I am a super hero, the chosen one, I’m going to save the world…you will thank me one day”

But superheros don’t just look away, do they?

I hate the fact that I live in a city where I am reluctant to help someone for fear for my own safety. I suppose it’s always been that way though, whenever you step into such situations, you run the risk of getting hurt. But in this city you run the risk of not just getting hurt, but losing your life.

What if I had helped her? If I had screamed, I may have raised enough alarm to gather a crowd. Within a few minutes a scene of mob justice could have played out in front of me… What if they didn’t stop beating them? What if they killed them?

I would have helped that girl. But I would have been partly responsible for two other deaths. Would I have felt any better? Any less guilty? No. I would probably be sitting here, writing the same story asking myself the same questions. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

Everyone else around me keeps saying I did the right thing. No. I did what was best for me, not the “right thing”.

So yes, this is probably a strike against my name, and I will probably be called into the board of super hero’s to explain myself, this is what I’m going to tell them:

I am only Human. Cell phones and wallets can be replaced, lives cannot sometimes the best decision won’t be the right decision.

Published in Wits Vuvuzela, 6th edition, March 15.

EDITORIAL: Enough is enough!

South Africa is in crisis. In a very short space of time, a dense fog of violence has engulfed the country, unleashing countless acts of gender-based violence and xenophobia that have unravelled the rainbow in our nation. At Wits Vuvuzela we have been moved to dedicate this issue to confronting these two ills.