Man kidnapped, set on fire and strangled ‘out of anger over girlfriend’

Police looking for a missing person found his charred remains in Mpumalanga after a man allegedly confessed to setting him alight “out of anger over a girlfriend”.

The 35-year-old man’s family reported him missing at the Kriel police station on April 30.

“While the police were investigating his disappearance, a man approached officers on May 2 and reportedly confided that he had kidnapped the missing man with the assistance of another man,” said police spokesperson Brig Leonard Hlathi.

“He further told police he had set him alight out of anger over a girlfriend.”

The suspect led police to the scene of the attack and the body was found.

“The trail of events indicate Themba Bongani Mziyakho kidnapped the victim on April 28 with the assistance of his co-accused Vusi Sibande. They took the victim to a secluded area, where Mziyakho instructed Sibande to leave and then poured petrol on the victim and set him alight,” Hlathi said.

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“He strangled the victim when he realised he was still breathing and then dumped his body in a river.”

The two men face a murder charge and were remanded in custody by the Kriel magistrate’s court on Monday. They will return to court for a formal bail application on May 10.

The police raised concern after the incident, saying people were resorting to violence to resolve disputes.

“Some even go to the extent of hiring izinkabi [hitmen] to eliminate their opponents. This deadly behaviour has a negative impact, affects many families and puts the lives of others at risk. Anger, jealousy and greed seem to be the root cause of this problem. People are urged to tolerate each other and settle disputes in an amicable manner,” said Hlathi.

Acting provincial police commissioner Maj-Gen Thulani Phahla said society faced a “psychological challenge of uncontrollable anger”.

“They no longer communicate amicably to resolve differences but use deadly violence instead and this is a matter all should be concerned about,” said Phahla.

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