Thief goes home without his hands after being cornered at popular prophet’s church


“I begged him to at least leave me with one hand, but he said my friends must see what happens to people that steal from him.”

These are the words of the man who had both his hands chopped off in Mpumalanga, South Africa, two weeks ago. Dumisani Mahlangu (29), was released from hospital this week and spoke to Sowetan, admitting that he was a thief.

However, Mahlangu said he had nothing to do with the crime he was accused of on March 20 when he had his hands chopped off in Vosman, Emalahleni, allegedly by a local prophet after he was accused of stealing from a church.

Web design in Zimbabwe

Apostle Solomon Mhlanga (58) and his 20-year-old son Enoch appeared in the Emalahleni magistrate’s court on charges of attempted murder and kidnapping. The case was postponed to April 9 for bail application.

The Community Policing Forum (CPF) in the area said they were faced with a drug problem with addicts stealing steel hardware to sell at scrapyards to feed their addiction. Mahlangu said he was walking past the church in Kwa-Guqa when he was cornered by a group of armed men who accused him of stealing from their church and assaulted him.

Article continues below these jobs...

“I was going to my friend’s house around 7am. I took a short cut and I walked through the church yard. Four men approached me, accusing me of stealing. As I tried to run away, I heard several gunshots, and they told me to stop or else they will shoot me. They assaulted me with sticks and fists.

“The pastor’s son phoned the pastor. I heard him saying, ‘dad, we found Dumisani’. The pastor came and was driving a van, followed by his wife in a car. When he arrived he assaulted me and tied my hands and feet with a rope. They put me in the back of the van and we drove to a secluded area in Kromdraai.”

He said the pastor was armed with a panga.

“I did not know what they were going to do to me. They put my hand on the tree branch. I screamed when I saw the pastor with a panga and I begged him not to kill me. The men held me down while the pastor chopped off my hands,” said Mahlangu, who said he begged the pastor to at least leave him with one hand.

He said he was then untied and left there.

“I walked to the main road and as they were driving out of the woods, I asked them to call an ambulance for me but one of them said no, indoda ifela empini. I got help from people who were cutting wood not far away, but they were also scared to come close to me because they could see I don’t have hands. They phoned security officers from a nearby mine. The security drove me to a clinic in Kwa-Guqa.”

Mahlangu said although he is known in the community as a thief and a drug user, he has never stolen from the church.

“Yes, I admit that I’ve stolen before to buy drugs but I have never stolen from the church. They didn’t find me with anything.”

His father Johannes Mahlangu (66), said his son was a thief but did not deserve what happened to him.

“How can a pastor do this to my child? Is he not supposed to preach peace? Now I have to brush his teeth, feed him, wash him, take him to the toilet. I was hoping that when I die, he is the one who is going to carry my coffin out of this house,” he said.

CPF member Florina Mokoena said: “Our biggest challenges are house robberies and car thefts. House robbery is mostly committed by drug users because they steal steel pipes, gates and wheelbarrows and go and sell them at the scrapyards. We also need to engage more with the community and discourage them from taking the law into their own hands. Some [community members] are disgruntled about the police and complain that criminals are freely roaming the streets,” she said.

There were 2,124 people killed in mob justice attacks in the past financial year. Between April 2023 and December 2023, 1,315 mob justice deaths were recorded. Sowetan Live.

Breaking News via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to our website and receive notifications of Breaking News by email.