Mentally ill man accused of witchcraft killed

Johannesburg - An Mpumalanga man who suffers from mental illness has been killed in Skoongesig, KwaMhlanga, after he was accused of witchcraft by residents, police said on Thursday.

Around 14:50 on Tuesday, the 27-year-old man allegedly arrived naked at a woman's house in the area and told her that he had been sent by God, police spokesperson Sibongile Vilakazi said in a statement.

The woman then called for help and residents gathered outside her house.

"More community members gathered and decided to take the law into their own hands by severely assaulting the man. He was taken to a local clinic by ambulance but was certified dead on arrival."

Acting provincial commissioner Major General Meshack Nogwanya condemned the death, especially because the community knew the man suffered from mental illness.

"A community is supposed to protect its vulnerable members. A mentally ill person who is not showing any signs of violence was harmless.

"All they had to do was to call the police but they decided to take the law into their own hands and now a life has been lost," Nogwanya said.

A murder docket was opened.

The attack was a form of vigilantism and no stone would be left unturned until the perpetrators were found and prosecuted, he said.