Vigilante Killings: report tensions before becoming murder accomplice

Dan Plato

Western Cape Minister of Community Safety:

I condemn in the strongest possible terms the recent incidents of vigilante killings in Philippi. Communities across the province should know that vigilantism is a crime and that it will not be tolerated by law enforcement agencies.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility – various alternatives exist to taking the law into your own hands and becoming an accomplice to vigilante violence and murder.

I call on all community leaders; members of the community; the various non-governmental organisations across the province as well as all public servants working in our communities regardless of department, sphere of government or position to make it our duty to alert the authorities about tensions and threats before they escalate into criminality.

The Western Cape Government trusts the South African Police Service (SAPS) as the investigative authority in dealing with vigilante violence and crimes to ensure that all remain equal before the law.

The SAPS, however, can only act on the information they have and rely on the public for assistance and support in this regard.

All crimes have to be reported to the nearest police station for investigation. Communities should also partner with police in reporting any threat of vigilantism to the police.

If anyone feels that the SAPS, Metro Police, or any other safety structure is not doing their job I am asking them to contact my office as a matter of urgency so that this can be addressed.

Members of the public can raise their grievances over poor policing and report any complaints against police or good police work by smsing the word ‘reward’ or ‘report’ to our sms line 35395, calling our 24/7 hotline, 021 483 4332, or emailing policing.complaints@westerncape.gov.za.

Alternatively, the public can flag threats and submit information on vigilantism in any form directly to my office at safer@westerncape.gov.za.

I will also be engaging with Provincial Commissioner, Arno Lamoer, on SAPS intelligence to detect these threats and SAPS’ methods and protocol to prevent and deal with incidents of vigilantism.

We all have to work better together to create the safer communities we all want to live, work and move about in.