Police Minister Bheki Cele has called for co-operation between the Tongaat Police and the Hambanathi community in KwaZulu-Natal.

Cele visited the family of Andile Mbuthu, the grade 12 learner who is believed to have been killed by a local tavern owner and his accomplices.

Seven people appeared in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on Monday charged with the murder and kidnapping of  Mbuthu.

Cele says the Provincial Commissioner will also investigate complaints from the Mbuthu family on how the local police station has handled the matter.

He says, “We have discovered along the way that there have been injured relationships between police and the community especially the station…”

“They are very satisfied with the progress being made by the police at provincial level but our agreement should not be at provincial level, it should be between the police at station level with the community,” added Cele.

A video, showing Mbuthu injured and bleeding last week surfaced on social media after he was reported missing. Police divers later retrieved his lifeless body from a river in the area.

Angry community members set alight the tavern they believe Mbuthu was assaulted in.

Ward councillor Zanele Khumalo said the community was not happy with how local police have handled the case.

Khumalo said, “The situation was so dire that the police failed to manage it. The biggest concern that we were aware of is that the community wanted to find the missing child; which we did. They wanted the suspects to be arrested; which they were. I spoke to the community now that these two concerns have been addressed, can they please calm down.”

“Unfortunately, the community had other plans when I left and they proceeded to burn the tavern. When I arrived the second time, I had asked them where the police where gone, they said they chased them and the firefighters.”

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Jay Naicker says an arson investigation is under way, after residents burnt down the tavern.