In an act of jungle justice, a man from Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape was chased, assaulted and eventually murdered by a mob who believed he had killed a 6-year-old girl.

The group was seemingly convinced the man had raped and killed the girl on Tuesday and left her body on the side of the road.

Senior police management in the Eastern Cape has strongly condemned the acts of vigilantism which led to the death of the man, who was in his twenties.

According to Captain Khaya Tonjeni, South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson, a case of murder has been opened for investigation.

He said “Police are following strong leads and no arrests have been made as yet”.

Acting Eastern Cape police commissioner Major General Thembisile Patekile urged members of the community not to take the law into their own hands.

He said “The SAPS condemns all acts of vigilantism and public violence. We acknowledge public interest and the need for a speedy arrest in this case”.

He also said “A task team comprising seasoned detectives has been established to give undivided attention to the investigation of the murder of the young girl case and has been given a timeline to make a breakthrough”.

“Furthermore, police would like to appeal to the members of the media not to believe everything published on social media about the progress of this case.

“When there is a breakthrough in the investigation, the members of the media will be first to be informed. These unconfirmed speculations on social media have a potential to jeopardise police investigations,” Tonjeni said.

“We need to respect the family of the young girl during this challenging times and the rule of law. If any member of the public has any important information to share about the case, they should immediately inform the police.

Patekile  added that “Taking the law into [one’s] own hands has undesirable and unintended consequences”.

Anyone who might be able to assist the police with information about the murder of the girl has been urged to contact the investigating officer Detective Constable Lusanda Nkatazo on 082 334 8028 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.