Strong views on mob justice

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IN A heated community meeting in  Newvale  on Monday, the phenomenon of mob justice was placed under the spotlight after a 21-year-old crime suspect was allegedly beaten up by  residents  over the weekend.

LET’S TALK: Mlungisi station commissioner Colonel Gcinikhaya Taleni, centre, at a community meeting to discuss mob violence in Newvale Picture: ABONGILE SOLUNDWANA © The Rep

The man, whose name is known to The Rep, apparently grabbed a woman’s bag and threatened to stab her on Sunday at 9.45pm. The suspect was later beaten up by  residents  wielding sticks and spades and was also believed to have been stoned. After he escaped the beating, his shack was apparently torn down, as were three others belonging to criminal suspects.

Feziwe Shweni said the suspect and four friends had approached her while she was walking on Sunday. They ran away with her bag and as it contained money, clothing and items for her child’s education, she gave chase.

After informing her boyfriend, a group returned to search for the men but they were apparently confronted by the suspect wielding a knife.

Shweni said she opened a case but  residents , who had since learned of the attack, then found the man and beat him.

The community meeting was organised by ward councillor Ongama Adonisi to enable the police to listen to the community’s complaints.

 Residents  said there were about 10 youths who were repeat offenders, with crimes ranging from robbery, rape and housebreaking to the theft of car light bulbs.

Brenda Stamp, who said she had been attacked recently, said: “They took my phone, twisted my leg and broke it. I was not able to go to work for three months.”

Nozuko Dyantyi said when she was out of town recently, her house was broken into and cleaned out by criminals.

A relative of the suspect who was beaten up by the  residents  was booed after she tried to defend him.

There were also calls by those at the meeting that parents who defended their children who committed crimes should be banished from the community along with them or face being beaten up.

Mlungisi station commander, colonel Gcinikhaya Taleni said a follow-up meeting would be conducted.

He said  residents ’ challenges were noted and would be looked into.

Three men, including the suspect, had been arrested for drug abuse since then, he said.

Taleni urged the community members to supply information on crime.

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