Taking the law into their own hands, four men abducted a 16-year-old Bathurst boy they suspected of stealing a TV and took him into the bush where they allegedly beat him with an axe handle and threatened to hang him.
Phaphama Nobebe alerted Talk of the Town to the incident, which was later confirmed by the victim and SAPS.
Nobebe described the incident which took place on Sunday May 24. “[The boy] was playing with his friends next to the community hall when four guys in a dark blue Jeep called him. He attended them and they asked if he was [name withheld] and they forced him to get into the car after he agreed that was his name.”
Nobebe said the men drove to the forest with the boy and on their way they asked him about a TV which was stolen the previous day. When they arrived in the forest they asked again about the TV, which the boy said he did not know about. He was allegedly severely beaten.
TotT also spoke to the boy who related the horrific experience. “When we got in the forest they beat me up with an axe stick. They were alternating beating me with the stick. They struck me on my back, on the head and on the legs. I am now limping,” he said.
“When they realised that I was not changing my mind, they took out a rope, threatening to hang me.”
But they released him after he maintained his innocence despite the beating.
The boy said he struggled to sleep that Sunday night and on Monday his mother talked to one of the abductors to whom the TV belongs. He said the abductor told his mother that a sangoma had told him that the TV was stolen by her son.
The missing TV was later found in the possession of somebody else not connected to the teenager.
Nobebe said he was disappointed in the men’s actions.
“The reason I am reporting this is because one of these people moves around with the ward councillor, distributing food parcels and portraying himself as someone who holds a degree of morality, while he is not. We do not need such individuals. Abducting and assaulting someone is the highest form of criminality,” he said.
Last week police spokesperson Captain Mali Govender confirmed the men were being sought in connection with the incident.
“A case of abduction is being investigated after the parent of the minor opened a case. The victim is a 16-year-old male. No arrests have been made as further statements need to be obtained. Medical reports are also being awaited,” she said.