Mob justice killings are doubling murder rate in Limpopo - police commissioner Ledwaba

Mob killings are increasing in Limpopo
Mob killings are increasing in Limpopo
Image: Bram Janssens/ 123rf

Police in Limpopo are battling to contain a growing number of mob attacks that have resulted in the doubling of murder incidents.

Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Nneke Ledwaba said yesterday he had noted with great concern a persistent problem of murder cases that emanate from mob justice incidents in the province.

“These incidents continue to derail and counter the progress of the police. They double the number of  murder incidents and make it look like the police are failing to prevent crime.

“When one person dies at the hands of criminals and the community decides  to avenge [the murder], we remain with a challenge of investigating multiple cases of murder instead of one,” he said.

Speaking at the release of the provincial crime statistics at Seshego police station, Ledwaba urged that everyone contribute in changing the criminal mentality of  communities.

“We cannot allow a situation where the very same people that are supposed to assist us in preventing crime and arresting criminals are the very same people committing crime in the name of justice. I believe it's high time that everyone realises that crime is a crime regardless of who is committing it,” he said.

The province recorded 323 murder incidents between April 2018 and March 2019.

The Seshego policing cluster led the others with 57 murders, Thohoyandou was the second-highest with 51 murders and Mankweng was in third spot with 46.

Presenting the crime statistics, head of the crime registrar in Limpopo Brig Nyana Molema said 51 murders were as a result of misunderstanding and arguments, and happened over the weekend.

“Knives and bottles are used as weapons in the commission of these crimes,” she said.

Thohoyandou recorded 297 sexual offences, followed by Mankweng with 207.

MEC  for community safety Dickson Masemola said the launch of "Operation Tswara Tsotsi" has proved to be a success and police should continue dealing with hardened criminals.

“Criminals should know that if you point a firearm at a police officer, you have committed a crime against the state. Let's fight the drug lords in our streets who are destroying the future of young people,” he said.

Masemola urged police to deal with gender-based violence through social crime prevention.

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