‘Communities feel neglected’
INDEPENDENT policing researcher Dr Johan Burger believes that law enforcement agencies should work with communities to prevent residents from taking the law into their own hands.
Burger said poor communities often resort to taking the law into their hands as they have no confidence in the police.
“It’s a combination of things that need to be done. The police need to be on top of their game to regain the trust of their communities. When they receive calls from communities about criminal activities taking place, they need to act on that information when there’s a need for them to detain the suspect,” Burger said.
His remarks come after community members in Rustenburg recently set alight three houses, accusing the occupants of being involved in illegal activities.
On a number of occasions, residents have taken the law into their own hands.
In March last year, provincial police commissioner Lt Baile Motswenyane expressed concern about several incidents of mob justice in the province.
Motswenyane said the police were investigating 40 cases of vigilantism with a number of suspects behind bars.
Last week, four people accused of stoning a 50-yearold man to death during a mob justice attack appeared in the Brits Magistrate’s Court.
The man was killed after being accused of raping a teenage girl.
In February last year, two men were set alight by angry community members who accused them of stealing a car in Freedom Park phase one in Phokeng in the North West.
In 2015, two people were killed in Sondela section in Boitekong.
Burger said such attacks were prevalent in poor communities where residents felt neglected.
“Very often, communities out of desperation commit acts of violence such as burning or destroying property because they feel left behind or neglected by authorities in terms of services such as water and lights.
They feel that the state has forgotten about them and feel that they have to resort to these kinds of violence to draw attention to their problems.
“It’s important that we have awareness campaigns in communities informing people about their rights and responsibilities. What recourse they have if their complaints are not addressed. They need to be informed about the alternatives available to them.”
NEGLECT: Residents resort to violence in desperation.