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Spate of vigilante killings in Dunoon

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“We don’t support mob justice but people are sick and tired of crime”

Photo of vigilante victim
A victim of vigilante violence lies burnt to death on 12 July in Dunoon. The photo, taken by a teenager our reporter met at the scene, has been intentionally blurred.
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Four men were killed in mob justice incidents in mid-July in Dunoon township near Milnerton. One of them was burnt to death. This is according to Dunoon’s neighbourhood watch. Information from the police partially backs up the claim, but not entirely. Also, we were at the scene after one of the killings.

Milnerton SAPS spokesperson, Captain Nopaya Madyibi, confirmed that one person was found burnt beyond recognition at Yomelela street on 12 July (see photo). “The reason is unknown and is being investigated as to whether or not it was mob justice and no arrests have been made,” said Madyibi.

Madyibi also said that in a separate incident, the Milnerton Police found a deceased man pushed into a drain, head first, and that there was no information as to what had transpired. The case, she said, was still under investigation.

Noluthando Ludziya, coordinator of the Neighbourhood Watch, said, “It’s sad. So far in this month, I am aware that four people [accused of theft] have been killed. We don’t support people taking the law into their own hands. We don’t support mob justice but we feel that people are sick and tired of the crime, which has been increasing every day and there has been no change.”

Ludziya said that the Milnerton police’s claim that they have dedicated a lot of policing resources to Dunoon, was not reaping fruits. On the contrary, she said, the township was actually seeing crime on the rise. She said this was because of the Milnerton police’s unwillingness to work together with the neighbourhood watch.

“Crime has been increasing day-by-day. People’s homes are burgled. Drug use has been increasing … People are getting robbed on their way to and from work. People have lost hope in the police,” she said.

She said that thieves that were killed by residents in Dunoon’s section 28 and in the Bekhela informal settlement were caught red-handed robbing women.

Another Neighbourhood Watch member, Sibongile Nomgcana, who lives in Dunoon’s section 28, said that on 21 July he attended a funeral of a man who was killed in a vigilante attack. The man lived with his parents not far from his house.

“We went to Atlantis to bury him because his parents are my neighbours. I went to support them. We don’t want people getting killed but we don’t support what they are doing. People get up early in the morning to go to work so that they can support their families and then they get robbed,” said Nomgcana.

He was critical of the Milnerton police’s weak enforcement of the law. “They do nothing and hence people are fed up and say that when they catch a skollie they will take the law into their own hands because they are just tired of it. Residents say that they know the skollies and so when a crime has been committed, and residents show the police the skollie, they don’t make arrests, and these guys keep on robbing people,” he said.

“These laaities [children] when arrested, are taken to Pollsmoor Prison and then in no time are released back to the community where they keep robbing people.”

Nomgcana said that at times when they called the police they would not respond to incidents because they had deployed only two vans in the area, one for taking complaints and the other for patrolling.

“So when you call them, they will tell you that a van will come but that van is busy with another complaint, while you have something urgent,” Nomgcana said.

Captain Madyibi did not respond to these allegations, but called on people to report mob justice incidents so they can be investigated. She urged people not to take the law into their own hands. “Anyone with information can contact the Sector Manager, Captain Stemele, on 079 894 1465,” she said.

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TOPICS:  Crime Policing Violence