Mob justice not barbaric

Police and crime scene experts working at the scene of a mob justice attack in Zandspruit, where nine men were beaten and burnt. The writer is telling those who condemns the attack to wait until it is them who get shot for their cellphone, to understand what really drove Zandspruit to desperation.
Police and crime scene experts working at the scene of a mob justice attack in Zandspruit, where nine men were beaten and burnt. The writer is telling those who condemns the attack to wait until it is them who get shot for their cellphone, to understand what really drove Zandspruit to desperation.
Image: Alon Skuy

I take strong exception to yesterday's headline describing the tragic events at Zandspruit on Wednesday morning. It is not a headline I associated with a paper like Sowetan.

It is a knee-jerk reaction intending to simplify a complicated problem. You are blaming the victims of violence for defending themselves. These are desperate people who felt betrayed by the criminal justice system and political leadership.

When people lose trust in the justice system, democracy dies. It has happened before in Gugulethu and Nyanga East, Cape Town, when the community took back their streets from the marauding gangsters. They killed them. It will happen again. You Sowetan call it "barbarism" . To me, it is a cry for help by neglected communities.

We know violence begets violence. But if 6pm is too dangerous for you to walk the streets of Diepsloot, Zola, KwaZakhele, Galashewe, Mdantsane or Mamelodi, something got to give in. When your home is not safe for your family, you will do anything to protect them.

When a young girl is raped and the perpetrators are let loose, what are you supposed to do? It is for those of us with ADT [security company] and high walls in the burbs to play moral judges. Wait until it is you, who is shot for your cellphone, to understand what really drove Zandspruit to desperation.

Ask the question, what becomes of us when the criminal justice system fails?

Dr Lucas Ntyintyane, email

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