The Mpumalanga police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, has strongly condemned acts of vigilantism following recent killings of individuals who were suspected to have been involved in criminal activities.
Two such disturbing incidents occurred on Sunday and Monday.
The majority of these mob justice incidents were carried out across the Ehlanzeni District and especially in the Nkomazi area. In Hectorspruit, an 18-year-old male was reportedly assaulted, then brutally stoned to death by the mob at around 15:00 on Monday.
Two males, aged 21 and 28 respectively, were assaulted and then burnt alive at Block C near Tonga the previous day. The incident took place at around 17:40 after allegations that they too were involved in criminal activities.
The commissioner said that instead of taking the law into one’s own hands, members of the public are urged to work hand-in-glove with the police through legitimate structures such as the Community Police Forum and Community in Blue.
“Regular meetings regarding crime should be held at various policing precincts, however, it is very concerning to learn that most of such gatherings are poorly attended. Some members of the community do not even consider opening cases when a crime has been committed, but rather resort to directing violence towards those they believe to have been the perpetrators of crime.”
Manamela pleaded with communities to refrain from trying to correct a wrong with another wrong.
“Acts of mob justice can never be used to resolve crime, but it will instead create anarchy which undermines the authority of the state. We urge people to work with the authorities in rooting out crime in society by witnessing in court whenever crime is committed, so that this crucial part of evidence can be used by the courts to nail perpetrators in order to get maximum sentences,” she said.
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