On Tuesday, GroundUp visited yet another scene of mob justice, this time in Ramaphosa. A man had been burnt to death in a stormwater drain. His hands were bound. Beetge said police did not know the name of the victim or why he was killed.
The community, however, has labelled the men as “criminals”.
A young woman said: “They force open our doors and rape women and children. Criminals are killing innocent people … We don’t have confidence with police any more because they have failed us. They are friends with criminals.”
Beetge said police have been blocked by angry residents from attending to the scenes of vigilante killings. He also said investigating cases was difficult because “people don’t want to talk or to be involved”.
“They just keep quiet,” he said.
Motherwell community policing forum chairperson Nomawethu Jama said police were understaffed and didn’t have enough vehicles. “This is at the core of people’s anger. Residents view this as incompetence, yet police have logistical reasons,” she said.
“There are a lot of unsolved cases involving rape, murder and robberies, where no suspects have been arrested. People know who these criminals are, but they don’t trust the police. If they hand over the names of suspects, they think they will be betrayed by police. This is why they have decided to take the law into their own hands and kill the suspects. We discourage that.”
According to a report, State of Urban Safety in South Africa Report, from the Urban Safety Reference Group, the Nelson Mandela Bay