A MAN from Ntabazinduna in Matabeleland North bludgeoned a suspected goat thief to death with a knobkerrie after finding him with two skinned carcases from his herd.
Bongile Ginya allegedly beat the thief – who is yet to be identified — to a pulp in a frenzied attack on Friday at about 2AM, before handing himself over to the police.
Ginya, villagers said, had chased the man for more than a kilometre.
Villagers yesterday told The Chronicle the thief would habitually cycle from Nkayi, more than 170km away, to steal their livestock. They showed the news crew a congealed pool of blood where the fatal assault allegedly took place.
Ginya’s wife Siphiwe Zondo said her husband suspected something was amiss after the dogs started barking incessantly.
“It was after 1AM and we were awake as one of our children had a runny tummy. About 20 minutes after attending to the boy, the dogs started barking continuously,” she said.
Zondo said Ginya went out to check what was happening and came back later saying some goats were missing.
She said he went to sleep without telling her he had clobbered the thief. “He didn’t tell me what had happened but at about 5AM he woke up saying he caught the thief. He went to see his mother before proceeding to see the village head. After that he came and told me that he was going to Bulawayo where he had got a piece job,” said Zondo.
The village head Kholekile Mniki said Ginya told him he feared that he could have killed a man he found with two skinned goat carcases.
“He told me that he had attacked someone but I didn’t ask if he had killed him. He just told me that I was going to find his victim at the scene. I then advised him to report the matter to the police,” said Mniki.
Mniki said he went to the scene with other villagers and they found the bloody body.
Villagers said although a life was lost, they were relieved because many of them had their livestock stolen, allegedly by the same thief.
They said Ginya told them the thief had begged for mercy and said he was from Nkayi.
“We suspect this is the person who has been stealing from us. He was using the same method all over. He was slaughtering two goats, skinning them and leaving the skin and the hooves wherever he pounced,” said Duma Dhlamini, a villager.
He said they were losing sleep because of the thief who had made their lives difficult.
“We’ve lost count of the number of animals we lost because of this man. I’ve no doubt he is the same man who has been stealing our livestock. We can’t even keep chickens because of him,” he said.
A majority of the villagers in the area are from the Xhosa tribe and are famous for their prowess in fighting with sticks and knobkerries.
Acting police spokesperson for Matabeleland South, Sergeant Thabani Mkhwananzi said police were investigating the matter.
“We’re investigating a murder case involving a Mazizini man. We’re still in the process of identifying the murder victim as he is said to be unknown to the local community,” said Sgt Mkhwananzi.
He urged members of the community to find better ways of resolving disputes instead of taking the law into their own hands.