[DEBATE] : Duncan Village - Two more killed by vigilantes
okhela at iafrica.com
Wed May 6 06:48:14 BST 2009
This is where the idea of organizing Street, Area and Block Committees has
come in Duncan Village. At first the community marshals structures was
billed by international observers during and shortly after the 1994 as the
best country wide qua level of training, standards and morale. Shortly there
after they continued with the practice of Street and Area
Committees focused not only on public safety, but a range of activities such
as monitoring pension pay points, and community facilitation in general.
These activities were all neatly tailored to play a constructive role under
the then existent Reconstruction and Development Plan. The draw card was
that marshals were ideally equipped as they functioned in their own
communities where they were known and respected.
The first malady to strike the community marshal structures were
prescriptive of under the SAPS ACT 12995, for setting up Community Policing
Forums. This hacked into the existent structures with elections of new
committees to populate Forums and Sub-forums. Nobody knew exactly what the
intention of the original Community Policing constructions of government
were. Indeed, as time went by, leaping over the dismantling of the RDP
Office in 1998, Community Policing has become an elastic concept.
Politicians shout one thing, the police end up with pudding in the face
dealing with the raucous mess. And, by the way, often becoming either numbed
by the confusion, or getting into crime and corruption themselves.
The craze during the Gear regime was making of all the poor and unemployed
business people. Many marshals also set up private security guard
businesses. Some plagiarised Community Policing, continued with the Street
and Block Committee approach, but with this special di9stinction of becoming
self sustaining and financially viable. After a period of turmoil and turf
wars, Duncan Village saw the rise of an outfit called Vukani. People who
needed investigations to be done for theft or robbery went to Vukani. Vukani
responded, still does, to take the word of their "complainants" as gospel,
and attacked to apparent perpetrator and reclaimed the apparently stolen
goods. They would take their cut and the remainder was resituated to their
Further degradation of this wonderful populist Street and Area Committee
approach saw the proliferation of vigilante groups. Incidents as reported
over the past few days in the DD are merely exemplary.
Two more killed by vigilantes
MOB justice has cost another East London teenager his life after he was
attacked and killed by angry Duncan Village community members on Monday
He is the third person to die at the hands of vigilantes since Saturday,
after a man was killed in Fort Grey after being linked to a rape case.
The teenager, believed to be one of the criminals terrorising the community,
was beaten to death by "fed- up" residents who took to the streets in search
of the "criminals" they claimed were taking over their community.
Duncan Village police spokesperson Stephen Marais said a group of people
went to the man's home just after 10pm on Monday night and asked to meet him
outside. He apparently tried to run away.
Marais said it is alleged that the when the mob grabbed him he pleaded with
them that he was no longer a criminal.
"We are investigating what happened after that as he was found lying dead on
Marais said if residents had killed the man legal action would be taken
"We welcome citizen arrests where community members arrest people and bring
them to the police, not kill or assault them," said Marais.
On Saturday night, community members beat up two suspected criminals. One
died instantly. The other teenager, known as "Tea Bag", is in a critical but
stable condition at Frere Hospital's intensive care unit.
The Fort Grey death of a 40-year- old man was being blamed on the community
who, it was said, hunted him down and killed him.
It is alleged that Zola Nqayigana was beaten up after he confronted another
man for reporting him to the police about an alleged rape.
This angered the community who went looking for him.
East London police spokesperson Superintendent Mtati Tana condemned the
community's actions and called them barbaric. "This is the kind of behaviour
that will not be tolerated from communities. This has to stop," said Tana.
"No member of the community had the right to take the law into their hands;
they are committing a criminal offence."
He said a murder case had been opened although no one had been arrested
regarding the incident.
Duncan Village resident Kuhle Celiza said she had no problem with what the
community was doing because they had became "caged animals" in their homes.
"Only last week I had to run for my life after a man that was walking in
front of me was robbed of his money in broad daylight and people were too
scared to help him," she said. It was about time criminals got what they
deserved. Residents were tired of being bullied by youngsters.
Community leader Ernest Sogoni said he was not happy with the killing of
people but was not aware of yesterday's incident until it was too late. "We
are planning to have street patrols again in the area, especially at night,
in an effort to try and stop crime and to calm the community's fears," he
Another resident, who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation,
said she heard noises last night of people passing by her house singing
slogans. She did not condone the killings but "at least now criminals will
think twice about robbing us", she said. - By SIBONGILE MKANI
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