Plato talks tough against vigilante attacks
WESTERN Cape community safety MEC Dan Plato has called on the Khayelitsha police to arrest residents inciting violence and the ringleaders of vigilante attacks in the township.
This comes after residents threatened to resort to mob justice or necklacing again during a march on May Day to hand over a memorandum at the local police station.
Residents from Y-Section, Khayelitsha, have been protesting against the incidents of housebreaking, mugging and robbery in the area and also said they had "had enough of crime" in the area.
Last week Plato praised Khayelitsha taxi bosses for assisting the police with relevant information and also identifying suspected criminals.
Three sangomas, who allegedly provided muti to teen gangs in the area to help them become "fearless", faced the fury of residents after being corralled by taxi bosses.
Members of the Congress of Democratic Taxi Association in Site C, Khayelitsha, last week went in search of the three sangomas who allegedly sold muti to rival Vura and Vato gangs.
Yesterday Plato said he was aware that a group of residents marched to Khayelitsha police station to hand over a memorandum to the police in support of their complaints.
"I will put the issue of crime in Khayelitsha high up on the agenda when I meet with Western Cape police commissioner General Arno Lamoer next week."
Plato had held several meetings with local councillors, residents and community structures to discuss the way forward in addressing crime.
"I will be calling on the police to arrest any individuals identified as inciting violence and being the ringleaders of these vigilante attacks," he said.
Plato said through camera footage and reports from residents the police would identify the culprits and justice would also be carried out.
Commenting on the perception that police officers were more visible in affluent areas compared with black townships, Plato said mob justice was unacceptable.
"South Africa is a democracy and there are proper channels to deal with crime in the communities. This is not the way to seek justice," he said.
Police spokesman Frederick van Wyk called on residents to join forces with the police in fighting crime in the area.
He said the perception that police officers were more visible in more affluent areas was not true.
"There is, in fact, increased police visibility in townships, with crime prevention operations conducted daily," he said.
The neighbourhood watch and other structures were also in place to patrol areas on foot with the assistance of the police.
"In the more affluent areas more crime prevention mechanisms are in place to assist the police. For example, security companies, burglar proofing or alarms installed privately," Van Wyk said. "So it might seem as if the police are more effective in these (more affluent) areas."
In March there was a spate of kangaroo courts and the necklacing of several alleged robbers in the township due to a breakdown of the criminal justice system and distrust between the police and community.
About 1,000 residents necklaced three men at the Nkanini informal settlement in Khayelitsha, killing them, after a kangaroo court had found them guilty of stealing a generator.