- Three men have been arrested for allegedly torturing a homeowner and stealing valuables, including jewellery, from his home in Ermelo
- The suspects also managed to get away with an undisclosed amount of cash, a laptop and cellphones before being traced to Etwatwa
- There was a wave of collective anger on social media as locals called for the suspects to suffer the same or worse fate as the victim
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ERMELO - A brutal assault on a man has left an Ermelo community in Mpumalanga in shock after three men forced their way into a home and held up its occupants at gunpoint on Wednesday.
The victim, 47, was reportedly tortured using a steam iron while his five-year-old grandchild was in the house. The suspects then ransacked the residence in search of valuables.
Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, the spokesperson for the Mpumalanga police, said the victim was preparing to leave the residence to drop the child off at school when the assailants pounced on him. He said several other people were at the home.
"They held him and four others, including the child, at gunpoint. The suspects then allegedly forced the man back into the house and demanded cash. From there, they tortured him using an iron and began stealing from the home," said Mohlala.
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Suspects did not get far
Briefly News understands the minor did not witness the torture of his grandfather as he and the other people who were at the residence were locked up inside a bedroom. The suspects managed to steal several items before eventually fleeing the scene.
"They allegedly took valuables, including [an undisclosed amount of] money, jewellery, a laptop and some cellphones. The police and a private security company were notified of the incident," said Mohlala.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) managed to track the three men down before arresting them in Etwatwa near Benoni, Ekurhuleni, several hours later, News24 reported.
Former cop turned armed robber
"After being traced, the suspects were found in Etwatwa some hours later. Officers recovered three stolen firearms – two of which belonged to Ivory Park and Hercules police stations, respectively – and live ammunition."
The items stolen from the home were found in their possession. Two vehicles used by the suspects were impounded and will form part of the investigations. The trio faces serious charges, including house robbery, and will appear in court soon.
Meanwhile, four people, including a former Mpumalanga SAPS sergeant, were arrested for business robbery following an incident in which they held up staff at a shop located inside i'langa in Nelspruit, IOL reported.
"At about 8 am on Monday, the group stormed into the shop armed with guns and held several employees hostage. They were restrained with cable ties before the assailants relieved them of their cellphones, laptops, an undisclosed amount of cash and computer equipment," said Mohlala.
Calls for harsh treatment
Locals once again expressed shock on social media, with many calling for the criminals to be dealt similar treatment behind bars, or better yet, the community. Briefly News takes a look at some of the reactions below.
@Pieter Wassermann wrote:
"Let them go.. The community will sort them out... With a big smile."
@Fikile Fiks said:
"Laying there having a good time of their lives while the homeowner is probably fighting for his life in hospital."
@Chris Thompson added:
"Every day you see this, ANC won't bring back the death penalty because they will lose their voters."
Bheki Cele praises seizure of over 250 guns
Elsewhere, Briefly News previously reported that Minister of Police Bheki Cele felt encouraged as he announced the seizure of more than a quarter of a thousand weapons connected to a spate of political killings in KwaZulu-Natal in the past several years.
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Speaking on intelligence-driven operations by SAPS in Durban on Wednesday, 2 February, Cele said more than 250 firearms and 289 people have been arrested since 2018 as the police work to combat politically-motivated killings in the province.
"In this time, a task team has combed through [at least] 258 dockets, translating to a total of 289 arrests so far. Compared to the year before, this was 32 dockets more," said Cele, citing the ANC and the IFP had the highest prevalence for political killings.
Source: Briefly News