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Judicial CP - July 1998

Corpun file 7127

Sunday Times, Johannesburg, 5 July 1998


People's court dishes out tough justice to 'Romeo'

By Victor Khupiso

A MAN spent two days in hospital after he was lashed 50 times with a sjambok by members of a people's court - for alleged womanising. Gideon Mnguni, 54, who said his "sin" was being friendly to women, believes the beating last Sunday was the result of a grudge some "court" members had held against him.

A group of self-elected leaders told him earlier this year to move his shack in Ivory Park, Midrand, because it had been built on a site earmarked for someone else, he said.

Mnguni, who has lived in Ivory Park since 1992, said angry neighbours had vowed to fight against his eviction.

He said he was called to the court last Saturday night.

"I was with my girlfriend when a group of people arrived to tell me I was wanted at the court. They ordered her to leave as I would take a long time. I protested. But I was warned that I would be in trouble if I defied their orders.

"When I arrived at the court in the open veld, the leaders asked me why women were always smiling at me. Then one of them said I had slept with my neighbour's wife.

"I was not asked to explain," he said.

"After being found guilty, I was stripped and ordered onto a chair. They said my sentence would be 50 lashes.

"Six men took turns to sjambok me on my buttocks and my body. I was bleeding and in pain. They never bothered to take me to hospital."

Mnguni said he was warned after the sjambokking, which took place in front of children, not to report the matter to the police as that would "make matters worse" for him.

"These people have a grudge against me. Only two of the sectional committee officials were present - those who wanted me to go away. Others were shocked to hear I was sjambokked for nothing.

"My sin is that I happened to be friendly to women in the area. It (the beating) means I must not greet them or help them."

"I didn't sleep with any women. My witness is my girlfriend."

Mnguni said many innocent people were being severely sjambokked.

He now lives in fear, he added.

"I can't even face children - I'm embarrassed because they have seen my private parts."

Police spokesman Inspector Zinto Majola confirmed that Mnguni had laid a complaint and said the matter was being investigated.




ACCUSED: Gideon Mnguni, who says he is innocent

Pictures: JOE SEFALE

CAP: Gideon Mnguni shows marks on his buttocks and body after being found guilty at a people's court. Picture: Joe Sefale.

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