The residents of Rebone RDP Section near Steiloop in Limpopo knew that trouble was usually on the horizon when John Mojela visited the yard of his girlfriend, Johanna Mangatane.
And sure enough, when the 28-year-old turned up just after midday on Saturday, the neighbours around the village of Ga-Tauatswala heard loud screams and swearing.
A violent scuffle had ensued.
Johanna, 23, and her mother Grace Mangatane allegedly ganged up on Mojela, overpowered him, and strangled him to death.
Neighbours said they were afraid to intervene until community members organised themselves and went to the house in a group to avenge Mojela’s murder.
After discovering his lifeless body in the yard, the mob started assaulting Johanna and Grace with an assortment of objects.
Johanna managed to flee from the scene with her siblings but Grace wasn’t so lucky. She was caught and murdered by the vigilante mob.
The crowd went on to torch the house before dispersing.
When Gilead police arrived at the scene they found two people dead at different locations in the same yard.
A relative of the Mangatane family who lives on the same street said they had predicted this kind of tragedy for a long time.
Speaking anonymously for fear of victimisation, they said they knew there was no love lost between Grace and her son-in-law.
“It seemed like Grace never liked her daughter’s boyfriend. Every time the two lovers had a disagreement, the mother would interfere and take her daughter’s side,” she said.
“Saturday’s fight was not the first. The three always fought and we just ignored them. What they were fighting about this time we really don’t know.”
Police units from the Waterberg District were assembled and nine suspects aged between 27 and 78 were arrested on the same day.
Provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe said police will deal with community members who resort to acts of vigilantism and taking the law into their own hands.
Johanna appeared in court on Monday facing a charge of murder, while the nine members of the mob face the same charge for Grace’s murder.
They were remanded in custody.