TOO OFTEN, clean washing disappeared from the line – and they were gatvol.

Then they caught the men they thought were responsible.

AND THEY TOOK THE LAW INTO THEIR OWN HANDS.

“We got tired of seeing our laundry disappearing from washing lines all the time,” the angry woman told Daily Sun.

“We were forced to sit outside guarding our washing all the time or run the risk of losing it.”

The gatvol women vowed they would teach the men a lesson they’d never forget once they caught them.

On Monday two men were caught with a steel bathtub and some clothing, and the women decided they were the culprits who had been stealing their laundry.

Stones, knobkerries and sjamboks rained down on them as the angry women from Tamboville in Wattville, Ekurhuleni vented their anger.

One man died and the other managed to run away.

The women said they were frustrated because the cops weren’t helping them.

“We try to be patient, respect the law and hand them over to cops but it doesn’t work for us,” said one of the women who witnessed the beating.

“The thieves are arrested but a few days later they are back on the streets. Where’s the justice?”

Another woman said they were guarding their washing with their lives.

“We spend the whole day watching it and waiting for it to dry. But the washing still disappears and we end up crying,” said another woman.

“It is better that their families cry as well. Not just us.”

But the families of the victims are sad and angry.

Thembeka Majwete (43) said the people who killed her nephew Esethu Majwete (20) didn’t know the full story.

“Esethu was mentally ill. He went around begging for food. There was no way he could steal their clothes or their bathtub.

“We are hurt, especially after learning that the people who killed my nephew were women.”

Neighbour Sylvia Lekoape said the women were heartless. “How can women who gave birth themselves beat another woman’s child as if they never raised their own?” she asked.

“Instead of killing him, why didn’t they bring him here and tell their parents to pay them back?”

Ali Maphumulo, who runs the Albarakah Children’s Home in the area, said he was shocked to learn that Esethu had been killed.

“We know the boy.

“He used to come to us to beg for food. We didn’t know that he used to steal from people.”

Captain Pheello Mothapo said a murder case was opened at Actonville Police Station but said no arrests have been made as cops are still investigating.

“We’ll be making an arrest soon,” he said.