Mob justice accounts for most murders in Gauteng

The scene where Siyanda Mjoli was necklaced in Daveyton, East of Johannesburg. A mob attacked and burned Mjoli with a tyre after being accused of being involved in gang related activity in the area.
The scene where Siyanda Mjoli was necklaced in Daveyton, East of Johannesburg. A mob attacked and burned Mjoli with a tyre after being accused of being involved in gang related activity in the area.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

A total of 657 women and children were killed in Gauteng during the 2017-2018 financial year. This is according to provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Deliwe De Lange, who presented the annual provincial crime statistics in the legislature on Tuesday.

De Lange said 549 women were killed during the period under review and 108 children were murdered in the previous financial year, noting this figure contributed 16.8% to the overall murder rate in the province. 

A total of 4 233 people were killed in the province in the year under review compared with 4 101 murders in the 2016-2017 financial year, which marked a 3.2% increase in the province's murder rate. De Lange broke down the motives, saying a high number of those killed was as a result of mob justice. 

“Eighty-two people were killed as a result of business robberies, 58 died due to car-jacking, 264 people were murdered because of mob justice, and 110 murders were taxi-related,” she said. 

She pointed out that the Jeppe police station precinct came on top with a 42% increase in the number of people killed compared with the previous financial year. A total of 125 people were murdered in the precinct compared with 88 in the 2016-2017 financial year.

It was followed by Ivory Park which, however, showed a decrease in the number of murders, but still had the second-highest murder rate in the province. Ivory Park recorded 108 murders, down from 122 in the 2016-2017 financial year. 

Jeppe Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson Zola Dambula previously told Sowetan that the high rate of murders could be attributed to the ongoing taxi-related feuds stemming from KwaZulu-Natal. “We have been able to establish that the murders in this area are between people who know each other and those who live in the hostels,” Dambula said at the time.

“These people come from rural parts of KZN and have settled in the hostels. George Goch hostel has proven to be a big problem because of taxis, and that’s where most of them settle. They arrive there still holding grudges from their homeland and [decide to] settle the scores there. That’s where we come across a lot of murders in our precinct.”

However, Dambula said the recent statistics were not an accurate reflection of the work being done by the police and the CPF. "In some cases you find that people who are killed are not even from this precinct. They just happen to be killed in this area but are not from here," he explained, adding that they have implemented measures to decrease murders by having forums with indunas (chiefs) from the hostels and leaders from the taxi industry.

“These people know who the troublemakers are and they often assist in pointing them out."

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