WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT - Shocking video footage has emerged of community members assaulting a suspected rapist on the back of a security vehicle in KwaZulu-Natal.

The incident occurred last Sunday in the small enclave of Felixton near Richards Bay‚ the Zululand Observer reported.

According to the paper‚ an Empangeni Farm Watch security official was called to the area after a neighbouring community chased the suspected rapist into a sugarcane field. He was armed with a panga.

The community allegedly threatened to set the field on fire to drive him out.

The security company uses canines to assist officers in their duties and a dog managed to track the suspect in the field within minutes.

“Before we could arrest the suspect or load him in our vehicle‚ approximately 100 people from the community descended on him‚ took him from us and began to beat him‚” said Farm Watch’s Larry Erasmus.

Empangeni police meanwhile have condemned the incident.

“Communities cannot go around and think they are the law‚” the paper quoted Empangeni SAPS spokesman Captain Mbongeni Mdlalose as saying.

“If the man was suspected of having raped someone‚ we as the police will deal with him. It is our job.”

Mdlalose also said police would investigate allegations that SAPS members were on the scene but “did nothing” to stop the attack.

The suspect was treated at a local hospital before being handed over to the police.