A South African man suspected of stealing a mobile phone from a woman was stoned to death by a mob Monday in the northern town of Polokwane, police said.


"The community rushed to help the screaming woman. The man was caught and beaten with stones," police spokesman Moatshe Ngoepe told the national news agency SAPA.

"He was still covered with stones and various other things the mob used to beat him," he said, adding that a murder investigation has been opened.

Cases of mob justice in crime-ridden South Africa are common, where an average of 43 people are killed every day.

Police estimate that five percent of those killings are acts of vigilante justice.

[A woman looks at her mobile phone in a Cape Town cafe. AFP Photo/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA]