A 32-year-old Verulam man who allegedly stole a grass cutting machine is in a serious condition in hospital after angry residents doused him with petrol and set him alight.
Private security company Reaction Unit SA (RUSA) spokesperson Prem Balram said the man had sustained burns to more than 90% of his body.
Balram said that, when his officers arrived at the scene on Tottenham Road in Parkgate, Verulam, on Thursday morning, they found the man collapsed on the ground.
He claimed the man had admitted to stealing the grass cutting equipment from contractors working on the roadside in the area.
Together with the community, the workers pursued and apprehended him at the Ottawa/R102 intersection.
"They then led him to a bush in the area where they assaulted him with hammers and stabbed him, before he was doused with petrol and set alight. The men then drove off in a white Toyota Hilux bakkie and left him for dead in the bush."
Balram said the injured man had managed to walk to a nearby home.
"The Parkgate resident also confirmed that he was arrested previously after he stole a laptop in central Durban."
Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele confirmed the incident, saying a case of attempted murder had been opened at the Verulam police station.