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.

Student fired for being ‘tired of white people’

A WITS UNIVERSITY student was fired and blacklisted by one of South Africa’s largest advertising and marketing agencies, after a group of people complained about comments she had made on Twitter about South Africa’s racial history.

Second-year drama student, Ulemu Moyo, was fired by The Creative Council, a promotions company with which she had signed a contract on September 21, to do promotional gigs, including promoting the new Samsung Note 8.

Moyo wrote on Twitter on September 25, that, “It will always be a race issue as long as our forefathers’ cries remain in the soil of a country that was built on exploitation of black people.” She continued that, “And little by little, through the cracks in our country, privilege and injustice will seep through. If the foundation is shaky so is the house.”

The 19-year-old told Wits Vuvuzela that she received a barrage of hostile comments from people who disagreed with her comments. “I started having comments in my mentions from a lot of troll accounts saying stuff like ‘You are malnourished’, ‘Stop smoking ARVs’… a lot of rude comments,” she said.

Moyo later responded to the comments and tweeted that, “I’m really. Really. Really tired of white people”. Moyo said that after that tweet, one of the people who trolled her tagged Samsung Mobile in the tweet.

Samsung Mobile South Africa released a statement on Twitter on September 26, condemning Moyo’s comments. In the statement the company wrote that, “Samsung South Africa would like to express that it had no past or current affiliation with Moyo as an official ambassador.” The company added that, “Integrity, co-prosperity and diversity are the cornerstones of our generation and we do not tolerate any form of discrimination.”


The 19-year-old said that she contacted the promotions company and informed them about her tweets and the hostile reaction she had received. “I went to the offices the following day to talk about the matter. One thing they asked is ‘Why did you tweet that you hate white people?’ I never said I hated white people, I said I am tired of white people. It is not equivalent to hate,” Moyo said.

Moyo said that The Creative Council told her that she had placed the agency in jeopardy with Samsung who is their client. “They said ‘We have to cancel you from our books.’ I said OK, I understand. I never expected them to keep me. They told me I will never work for them,” said Moyo.

She added that she is not blaming the promotions company for firing her. “Samsung [is] their client, I can’t blame them.”

Facilitator at Creative Council, Sarah Ann Digue, told Wits Vuvuzela that the company had conducted an internal investigation, and had decided to blacklist Moyo. “She will not be working at any of our campaigns,” she said.

Digue said that the company is aware that Moyo did not say that she hated white people. “We are aware of that. It still does not make the statement better.”

RELATED ARTICLES: Wits Vuvuzela, Racism, is it getting under our skin?, mARCH 17, 2016.





Wits council to review its relationship with KPMG

THE WITS management council is reviewing its relationship with audit company KPMG.

An online campaign started last week calling on the chairpersons of the internal audit committee and the council to honour its commitment to social justice and sever ties with KPMG as the university’s auditor.

According to Koketso Moeti, the founder of, where the petition is hosted, the initiators of the campaign preferred to remain anonymous.

A researcher at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (a partner of Wits), who signed the petition, said that it is important that people sign. “At this time all organisations should decide what they stand for and who they stand with in society, and Wits needs to do the same,” he said.

In the petition, Wits is asked to join organisations such as investment management company Sygnia, energy investment company Hulisani, and financial services firm Sasfin, among others, in letting go of the services of KPMG and to introduce a policy of ethical procurement.

According to Deputy Vice-Chancellor Tawana Kupe, the university’s official external auditors are PriceWaterhouse-Coopers, but Wits secures its internal audit functions from KPMG.

University officials have been engaging with KPMG, and an announcement will be made next week [this week],”said Kupe, in a note sent out late last Friday.

Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba said in a statement last week that the events surrounding KPMG have weakened the reputation of good governance and audit independence in a major division in our economy.

He also said, “As a measure to restore confidence in audits, all of government and its entities must consider reviewing their work programmes with KPMG.

KPMG has recently come under fire following a report, based on emails posted by investigative journalism non-profit amaBhungane, for failing to oppose the irregular treatment of the Gupta wedding expenses in 2014.

The emails showed that KPMG was aware that Gupta owned companies were classifying wedding costs as business expenses, which could be deducted for tax purposes, but did not raise concerns.

Eight senior executives, including CEO Trevor Hoole, resigned and KPMG

has announced that a full, independent investigation into its South African branch’s dealings with the Gupta family, and its involvement with a controversial South African Revenue Service report will be conducted by a “senior South African legal figure, who is completely independent of both KPMG South Africa and KPMG International”.

The petition demanding that Wits withdraws from any dealings with KPMG had reached 84 out of 100signatures at the time of going to press on Thursday.


Wits Vuvuzela, September 2017, Four-year LLB limbo

Wits Vuvuzela, March 2015, Incoming Accounting School Council hopes to prioritise the well-being of accounting students