The gruesome discovery of six bodies in an isolated area in Cape Town has left the community terrified.
The men, aged between 18 and 30, were found yesterday morning in Joostenbergvlakte in Kraaifontein, allegedly face down and with their hands and feet tied.
Their heads appeared to have been smashed in with concrete blocks. One of the men was naked.
They were spotted by a passerby.
Last night police forensic investigators were still combing the scene, about 30km north-east of the city centre.
Photographer Solly Lottering, who saw the bodies, said: “‘There were slabs on top of their heads. I could see their brains coming out. Their hands . [were] tied at their back.
“One body was lying in a dumping site and one man was naked.”
A member of the Fisantekraal community policing forum, who asked to be identified only as Grace, said police had told her people should not be allowed near the crime scene because they would not be able to sleep if they saw the bodies.
“Their heads are completely smashed in,” she said.
Christy Jantjies, a farmworker, said: “I was told that one man is naked. They were all in a row, face down, and their arms and legs were bound.”
A man who lives nearby said that on Tuesday night he had heard gunshots: “I was lying in bed with my window open when I heard about 20 shots go off.
“I suspect these men could have been executed because it is dark out there.”
On the same night there had been a break-in at a nearby farm, he said.
Another resident said the community was “very afraid and very worried about the increase in crime. We are a small community.”
Dan Plato, Western Cape MEC of community safety, promised to visit the community.
“It is very horrible,”‘ said Plato last night.
“I believe police forensics are still combing the area for clues and to get a clear picture of what happened. I believe the post-mortems will give a clear picture of what really happened. But I don’t have much information at this stage.”
Police spokesman FC van Wyk would divulge only that six murder cases were opened.
He called on the public to come forward with information.
Unisa criminologist Professor Anthony Minnaar said the murders might have been gang-related but could also have been the killings of ordinary criminals by vigilantes. They might also be muti killings.
“Police will start walking around the neighbourhood and asking people if they saw anything, whether they heard any shots – all these are indications of a certain profile of a crime,” he said.