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‘Criminal and dangerous’: Ramaphosa condemns Phoenix ‘vigilantism’

A body lies in a road in Phoenix, Durban, after violent protests and looting in the area. File photo.
A body lies in a road in Phoenix, Durban, after violent protests and looting in the area. File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday condemned acts of what he called “vigilantism” in Phoenix, in eThekwini, after scores of people were allegedly killed.

This would not be tolerated and is regarded as criminal conduct by the authorities, Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter.

Phoenix has been rocked in the past two weeks by a rising number of dead bodies, for which no-one has taken responsibility, after the looting and public violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Communities in the area took the law into their own hands, setting up road blocks on public roads where some motorists were allegedly beaten to death and their vehicles torched. Others escaped with injuries.

“We do know from official reports and personal accounts that people were racially profiled at illegal roadblocks. Some people were pulled out of cars and beaten, and some were humiliated and degraded,” wrote Ramaphosa.

“Several people were killed. Much of what has happened is the inevitable outcome when people take the law into their own hands.

“Vigilantism will not be tolerated in this country. It is criminal and it is dangerous. Since calm has been restored to the affected areas, our law enforcement agencies are investigating all acts of criminality.”

Ramaphosa said he did not buy into the “narrative” that the Phoenix situation was the result of “racial tensions” between the black and Indian communities residing there.

“There is an attempt to present this as a sign of imploding race relations between African and Indian communities. It has been stoked by anonymous people on social media and in messaging groups making outrageous claims and calling for revenge.

“They will not succeed. SA has a proud history of principled nonracialism and working class solidarity. African and Indian communities were united in the struggle against apartheid and, together with other communities, remain committed to a united and democratic society.”


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