Three Makhaza residents in Khayelitsha have been arrested for allegedly participating in vigilante justice when five men accused by residents of being involved in criminal activities were beaten and stoned.
Irate 41 Block residents allegedly went in search of five men at about 2.30 pm on Tuesday who were believed to be behind a spate of housebreaking and muggings.
Two of the men were killed and three who are still in hospital were seriously injured after they were attacked.
Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said an investigation by Harare police members led to the arrest of three people on Wednesday aged between 27 and 32.
He said they remained in custody and are expected to appear today at the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court for murder and attempted murder in connection with the incident.
“Police are strongly condemning the act of vigilantism in our communities and encourage them to report any criminal activities to the police for the law to take its course,” said Van Wyk.
Ward councillor Danile Khatshwa said kangaroo courts were spreading in different parts of the area as residents believed police were inundated by crime.
“There have been several mob justice incidents in the area because people are tired of living in fear due to crime. They claim criminals are reported but get released on bail and return to continue terrorising people.
’’While they are at work their homes are targeted and hard-earned expensive furniture and other values get stolen. When walking back home from work they get robbed.”
Khatshwa said together with different safety community structures they have been engaging in meetings to try and assist police but there was only so much they could do.
“There are many different gangs that operate in the area and it seems like the new informal settlements that were established during the pandemic somehow escalated crime. Things are just getting out of control and criminals feel they are untouchable,” said Khatshwa.
He said although he understood community frustrations, he didn’t condone mob justice.
“No one deserves to die like that and no one has a right to take someone else’s life. We need to find better ways to deal with this.”
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