Four Limpopo security officers appeared in court on Tuesday after allegedly killing a man who they believed had killed one of their colleagues, police said.
The men went looking for a suspect on Monday morning after receiving a report that he was responsible for shooting, killing and robbing one of their own, said provincial police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe.
Ngoepe said they never reported the matter to police but instead traced the man - 24-year-old Masilu Mothemela - to a house in Mohodi Manthata village outside Mogwadi, near Polokwane.
They interrogated him before allegedly shooting him in the chest, killing him instantly. They also allegedly shot and injured his friend before fleeing the scene.
Seven men were arrested but only four were linked to the incident. Police confiscated four pistols and three rifles.
The men appeared in the Senwabarwana Magistrate's Court on charges of murder and attempted murder on Tuesday.
They are Thabo Masilo, 26, Khetta Ngobese, 45, Sthembiso Hlabisa, 30, and Isaac Malema, 43.
Ngoepe said they would remain in custody until their formal bail applications on Friday.
The police investigation continued.