Mob jus­tice rules

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - FRONT PAGE - Or­rin Singh

THREE peo­ple were bru­tally killed this week at the hands of an­gry mobs - one a house­breaker al­legedly slain by stu­dents.

On Fri­day, two al­leged whoonga ad­dicts sus­pected of be­ing in­volved in petty crimes such as house bur­glar­ies and pick pock­et­ing, were slain by a blood­thirsty group at Me­vamh­lope.

Coun­cil­lor for Ward 31, Sipho Ntombela, said by the time he ar­rived at the scene, the two men were al­ready dead.

‘From what I un­der­stand, they were beaten to death with stones, sjam­boks and sticks.’

Ntombela said ac­cord­ing to his knowl­edge the mob sus­pected the men of be­ing in­volved in crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity and dis­pensed in­stant jus­tice.

Em­pan­geni Sta­tion Com­man­der, Bri­gadier Jeros Thango, said five peo­ple were ar­rested and were to ap­pear in the Ng­welezana Mag­is­trate’s Court.

In a sep­a­rate in­ci­dent, one per­son was al­legedly killed by stu­dents in the early hours of Tues­day morn­ing in the KwaDlangezwa area af­ter re­port­edly be­ing caught while com­mit­ting a bur­glary at Msomi Cot­tages.‘The par­tic­u­lars of the de­ceased are not known at this stage as the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the case is on­go­ing.‘Stu­dents at­tacked and beat him to death.‘No ar­rests have been made,’ said King Cetshwayo Clus­ter Po­lice spokesper­son, Cap­tain Mbon­geni Md­lalose.

Con­demned

Bri­gadier Thango con­demned the in­ci­dents at the high­est level.

‘Peo­ple must stop tak­ing laws into their own hands, be­cause re­ally, they are not as­sist­ing us by do­ing so.

‘If they are look­ing for some­one be­lieved to have com­mit­ted a cer­tain of­fence, they need to call the po­lice to han­dle the mat­ter.

‘This is not the way things are meant to be done in our coun­try,’ said Thango.

His sen­ti­ments were ex­pressed against a back­ground of mob jus­tice be­com­ing an in­creas­ingly wor­ry­ing is­sue for po­lice, not only within this re­gion but also at a na­tional level.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­cently re­leased na­tional crime sta­tis­tics 264 peo­ple were mur­dered in mob jus­tice at­tacks in Gaut­eng alone be­tween April last year and March this year, and 849 peo­ple were killed in sim­i­lar in­ci­dents across the coun­try.

Mob jus­tice is noth­ing new

Head of the Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Depart­ment at the Univer­sity of Zu­l­u­land, Pro­fes­sor Jo­han Ras, said mob jus­tice is some­thing that has been hap­pen­ing in the coun­try for decades.

‘It is as old as mankind be­cause it is based on peo­ple’s per­cep­tions of what is right and wrong for them in the now, not on a de­layed court-sys­tem that maybe one day will look at the mat­ter.

‘The crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem is a process of ad­min­is­tra­tion that takes lots of time and peo­ple do not feel sat­is­fied with that.

‘Im­me­di­ate ir­ri­tated mem­bers want lex tal­iones jus­tice, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

‘That is con­sti­tu­tion­ally to­tally wrong but it brings emo­tional com­fort for those that feel they were vic­timised.

‘The big­ger is­sue is this: govern­ment rep­re­sents peo­ple with dif­fer­ent be­lief sys­tems but the dom­i­nant ruling party’s views on the way we raise our chil­dren (no cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment) and how we pun­ish peo­ple (no death penalty) has cre­ated a sit­u­a­tion where most par­ents and pub­lic mem­bers know that some­thing is wrong.

‘Those with less ed­u­ca­tion are quick to re­tal­i­ate be­cause they vent their frus­tra­tion through fists, sticks and knives, not through a lengthy crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem that they do not un­der­stand.’

Ras said the po­lice, through the com­mu­nity polic­ing fo­rums as well as pri­vate se­cu­rity, must con­tinue to be­have in a con­sti­tu­tion­ally-eth­i­cal man­ner and con­stantly ed­u­cate peo­ple so that they re­port mat­ters.

‘The po­lice will al­ways as­sist – if you do not get joy, take it up higher,’ he said.

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