Vig­i­lantes kill four men in Philippi

Res­i­dents take law into own hands, tired of crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity

Cape Argus - - FRONT PAGE - Yolisa Tswanya

VIG­I­LANTE killings have come to the fore again in the town­ships. In Philippi East, four peo­ple were killed by com­mu­nity mem­bers of Marikana in­for­mal set­tle­ment. The res­i­dents said they were tired of be­ing vic­tims of crime and de­cided to take the law into their own hands and claimed the four lives over three days. Whis­per­ing anony­mously for fear of reprisals from crim­i­nals, they said the killings would not stop un­til the com­mu­nity was rid of crim­i­nals.

“The crim­i­nals walk around with bul­let­proof vests and they will come for you. The po­lice are scared to come in the area and res­i­dents are fed up. They make cases but it goes nowhere,” one com­mu­nity leader said.

He added that res­i­dents were plan­ning on protest­ing out­side the po­lice sta­tion as they are tired of liv­ing in fear.

“We have been to Par­lia­ment to raise our con­cerns and we thought we could get some help there, but un­til now there has been noth­ing.”

He said vig­i­lante at­tacks were com­mon and had spiked in the past three months.

Yes­ter­day, a 25-year-old man was dragged from his shack, beaten in the street and killed. His shack was set alight, 50m from where he was killed.

Po­lice spokesper­son Sergeant Noloy­iso Rwex­ana con­firmed the in­ci­dent and said po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the cir­cum­stances.

Vuyokazi Mzala Zala said res­i­dents were tired of crime in the area and some mem­bers took it upon them­selves to find per­pe­tra­tors and sort them out.

“There was a per­son with a loud­hailer mak­ing an an­nounce­ment, call­ing for them to come out and then they were killed. It is a nor­mal thing.”

Mzala Zala said the com­mu­nity was tired of not be­ing heard by po­lice and al­leged that the three men killed had raped a woman.

The men were aged be­tween 20 and 30 and were set alight.

“We are tired. They come and rob our houses when we are at work. The in­ci­dents also hap­pened when we were sleep­ing,” oth­ers said.

Spokesper­son for Deputy Po­lice Min­is­ter, Bon­gani Mkongi, Siyab­ulela Tom, con­demned the in­ci­dent and said it would en­gage with the com­mu­nity and po­lice to im­prove the re­la­tion­ship.

“The com­mu­nity has to work with the po­lice and as­sist them with in­for­ma­tion. We must get the po­lice and com­mu­nity to work to­gether.”

He said the SAPS con­demned the in­ci­dents, ir­re­spec­tive of the cir­cum­stances.

DA Western Cape spokesper­son on com­mu­nity safety Mireille Wenger said ac­cord­ing to the “State of Ur­ban Safety in South African Cities” re­port, Philippi East is the city’s mur­der cap­i­tal and not Nyanga, as pre­vi­ously re­ported.

She said while Nyanga may have the high­est num­ber of mur­ders, they need to be looked at in pro­por­tion to the pop­u­la­tion.

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