By Kaya 959 News
Police Minister General Bheki Cele has called for a thorough investigation into police action following the deaths of eight men in Zandspruit last week.
Cele visited the informal settlement in Johannesburg at the weekend.
Cele was joined by MEC of Community Safety in Gauteng, Faith Mazibuko and the pair met with local police management to get a briefing on what transpired. Cele also demanded answers as to why it took police hours to respond to the scene.
It is alleged that nine men were kidnapped in Zandspruit on 19 May.
The group was taken to a local soccer field where their hands were bound and they were beaten with sticks, steel pipes, wooden poles and sjamboks.
The group was also stoned, their bodies doused with paraffin and petrol then set alight. Reports claim that some of the youngsters were necklaced.
Four declared dead at the scene
ER24’s Russel Meiring said medics attended to the scene at around 8am.
“On arrival, medics found nine men bound, lying in the middle of the field near a smouldering tire. A large gathering of community members had circled the area. Medics assessed the men and found that four had already succumbed to their numerous burn wounds.
“Nothing could be done for them, and they were declared dead. Five other men were found with multiple burn wounds and were in critical condition,” he said.
Meiring said the injured were treated, provided advanced life support interventions before they were transported to nearby provincial hospitals for urgent care.
Eight of the nine died. The group was accused of orchestrating and carrying out a number of crimes in the local community.
Improved service delivery needed
In his address to the community gathered at the local sports grounds, where the murders took place, Minister Cele told residents that he is convinced the community of Zandspruit deserves improved service delivery.
He has further ordered an urgent probe into why the police response time was slow on the morning of the attacks and has called for heads to roll.
“There is no doubt police in this area have many challenges due to the ever increasing population size and poor living conditions that impede on crime fighting efforts, however some of the problems faced by the police are self made,” Cele said.
He said it was disheartening to hear that calls were made to the police while the youngsters were still alive but yet police vans took hours to respond.
“This is why I have tasked the provincial commissioner to get to the bottom of these claims and I expect answers in the coming days,” he said.
A police task team has been put together to look at other identified problems within the station as well as relook at all cold cases that have been dragging on with little to no conclusion.
Suspects due in court
At least six people have since been arrested in connection with the murders.
Gauteng police spokesperson, Captain Kay Makhubele, confirmed the arrests, adding that they are expecting more people to be arrested.
The accused are due to appear in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
The suspects face charges of murder, attempted murder and kidnapping.
Cele’s spokesperson Lirandzu Themba says the minister will have a follow-up visit in the next month.