| PORT ELIZABETH

Concern over high number of vigilante killings in PE

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At least 13 people killed in past four months

Photo of police at a piece of scorched earth
Police at the scene where two men were killed by vigilantes on Friday morning in Shukushukuma. Photo: Joseph Chirume
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At least 13 people have been killed in vigilante violence over the past four months in Port Elizabeth. Some residents say they have lost faith in the criminal justice system to deal with criminals terrorising their communities.

On 19 January, 52-year-old Mava Fundakubi of Shukushukuma, was accused of raping a seven-year-old girl and murdered. Medical tests conducted the same night showed that the girl had not been sexually assaulted.

Motherwell Cluster Commander Major-General Dawie Rabie said in an official statement: “An innocent man was killed by the community based on a rumour and [they] did not even wait to verify the truth of it. The people involved were killers and the police and the law will take them as killers.”

Rabie explained to a gathering on 12 February at the Motherwell NU 30 community hall how the law works when bail is given or denied, the rights of arrested persons, and the role of witnesses and the community in the bail process.

He said: “The community must speak out and give information about crimes and criminals to the police so that the courts can deal with them as the law prescribes … We as police and community have a joint responsibility to ensure safety on our streets and within the community. The Constitution is ours and we need to respect the rights of all other persons. A person remains innocent until proven guilty, but the victims and witnesses of crime as well as the community also have rights to object against bail and parole for suspects and sentenced perpetrators.”

He called on the community to share the information they had on suspects with the police rather than taking the law into their own hands. He said that 11 people had been killed by vigilantes in the past four months.

But just three days after Rabie spoke, on Friday 15 February, two men accused of raping and suffocating a 60-year-old woman were burned to death by a mob in Shukushukuma.

Mandisa Nyoni, a Shukushukuma resident, said, “What angers people is that criminals have become very brutal. How can you rape an old woman and kill her? Some criminals are even burning houses while there are people sleeping inside. As residents we should eliminate these criminals from this society.”

A resident of NU 10, Motherwell, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Criminals boast that they get bail if arrested … Victims and witnesses have been killed after suspects were released on bail.”

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TOPICS:  Crime Policing

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