A 20-year-old Zimbabwean man died following an attack by an angry South African mob at Tshikota village in Makhado, Limpopo province, in a suspected xenophobic attack.
South African provincial police spokesperson for Limpopo, Colonel Ronel Otto, confirmed the incident, which occurred on Saturday night.
She however, said police were still investigating the circumstances that led to Knowledge Zukwa’s death.
“We can confirm that a Zimbabwean national, was found dead on Saturday following a mob attack and we have since launched investigations. In fact, we received information that Zukwa allegedly stole some goods from villagers at Tshikota and they then descended on his home and started assaulting him,” said Col Otto.
Zimbabweans in the neighbouring country said the attack follows a trend whereby South Africans blame foreigners for perpetuating crime in the province.
Zukwa’s relative, Elias Matangwaza, said he witnessed the attack and expressed doubt that he would ever recover from the traumatic experience.
“It may take me years to recover from the trauma after witnessing my cousin being killed in such a brutal manner,” he said.
An eyewitness, Mark Ndou said Zukwa was attacked while naked.
He added that the Zimbabwean dashed from his hut, ran down the streets before he was cornered by a South African mob.
“They picked up whatever they could lay their hands on and hit him until he died. He was totally naked. I have never seen a human being die such a horrible death in my whole life,” he said.
Local councillor, Brian du Plooy told Chronicle that the attack was “unacceptable.”
He added that a meeting would be held in due course to address such attacks.
“This situation is unacceptable and surely we cannot allow mob justice to continue like this. We are saying that residents must always give the police a chance to do their job. We have scheduled a community meeting for next week, where we will talk about this pressing issue,” he said.
Of late Zimbabweans living in areas in Vhembe district in Limpopo province have been the subject of ridicule and blame for crime with locals taking it upon themselves to “weed out” foreigners blaming them for “fuelling” crime in the area.
In February, two Zimbabweans were brutally killed by a mob of South Africans at Tswinga village in Thohoyandou while three sustained serious injuries in suspected xenophobic attacks.
The two Zimbabweans were abducted from their homes and taken to a secluded spot where they were brutally assaulted.
One of the victims died instantly while the other died at a hospital due to the injuries sustained from the beatings. Xenophobia motivated attacks continue to rear their ugly head in South Africa and Zimbabweans, especially in Limpopo and Gauteng provinces have been on the receiving end.
Last year in November, five shops, two houses and two vehicles belonging to Zimbabweans were burnt in Liphalale town in Limpopo province by locals.
In June 2011, hundreds of Zimbabweans living in Seshego township in Polokwane city were left homeless following similar attacks by a mob, which also stoned to death one of them.
In May 2008, 62 foreigners were brutally killed and thousands others displaced during similar attacks.