RELIGIOUS leaders have joined the police in a chorus of condemnation following persistent incidents of mob justice in which angry civilians take the law into their own hands.
Police stations across Limpopo have been inundated with a plethora of criminal cases where irate community members often took matters into their hands, killing criminal suspects.
The majority of these incidents are sparked by displeasure among community members who bemoan police “laxity and ineffectiveness”.
A resident of Seshego, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said community members take the law into their own hands because they have long lost confidence in the police.
She said: “The people who participate in mob justice are not doing that because they are bloodthirsty. They do so because they have lost confidence in the police. They have been terrorised by criminals while police are idling. For some reasons, I personally support mob justice.”
Some of the most recent incidents happened in Botlokwa and Thohoyandou where, in both cases, the deceased were Zimbabwean nationals.
A fortnight ago, an irate mob at Eisleben, Botlokwa burnt a Zimbabwean national alongside his car after they accused him of a series of housebreakings in the area.
Morebene police spokesperson Warrant Officer Mankgabe Ncha confirmed they were investigating a case of murder in connection with mob justice.
In Thohoyandou, incensed community members burnt to ashes a suspected criminal whom they accused of terrorising them for months.
The man was savagely assaulted by residents after he allegedly attempted to rob an elderly woman of her mobile phone in the Thohoyandou CBD on April 22.
He was attacked with stones, sticks and other sharp objects before being doused with petrol and set alight allegedly by an angry mob.
The two incidents are said to be the tip of an iceberg in a province where incidents of mob killings were widespread in villages and townships.
Limpopo police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Malesela Ledwaba said police were concerned about these recurring incidences.
“This thing of people taking the law in to their own hands is wrong. If you catch a suspected criminal take that person to a police station and let the law take its course,” said Ledwaba.
His sentiments were echoed by Prince Ramahala, chairman of the Forum of Churches in Tsianda area in Vhembe.
Ramahla added: “No one has the right to kill another person. If someone has committed a crime, that person should be taken to the police. They are the people who deal with criminals.”