Vigilante Terror: Face to face with a vigilante

2013-11-10 10:00

Khutsong residents believe police in the area support and condone the murders of six people by a mob last Sunday.

“The police have had enough too. On Sunday, they shot us with tear gas and rubber bullets and saw what happened but no one has been arrested. Why is that?” asked resident Tshepho Makhe*.

Makhe and scores of other residents in Khutsong insist they did the right thing by killing six people in reaction to ongoing gang violence.

They say the police are unable to protect them from the feared Casanova teen gang.

“The police arrest them but in a couple of days they are back on the street. They are underage and no one speaks out against them. The community is very angry and we aren’t done yet,” Makhe said.

Some of the victims of last Sunday’s violence were buried yesterday. The police were on high alert amid residents’ threats to cause more trouble during the funerals.

Police officers on horseback and in vehicles, as well as K9 units, were out in force, particularly in Khutsong’s Zone 3, which is said to be home to most of the Casanova members.

Officers stopped and searched cars throughout Zone 3 and the area was quiet. But last Sunday’s murders are not far from anyone’s minds.

“There was a meeting last Friday to discuss the gangsters in our community. Councillor Jomo Modise said we should start a community forum to deal with them but we said ‘no way’. We told him we’d had enough,” said Makhe.

“The community decided to go [from] house to house, find them and burn them. Sunday was the day,” he said.

During the conversation, Makhe continuously went through gruesome pictures on his phone of the sangoma he and others torched alive.

He sent the pictures via WhatsApp. The sangoma is burnt beyond recognition, his body still smouldering. Makhe said this was all part of the plan, and it worked out exactly as residents had planned.

“On Friday, pamphlets were handed out to community members saying on Sunday we were going. The first stop for my group was Magagula’s [the sangoma’s] house. I was there and I saw him burn.

“These boys kill and rape. They must die in the same manner they made us live.

“These boys have no problem sending messages to the whole area that there is a curfew. People must be off the streets at 5pm. What is that?”

Still, he’s sure he and his community did the right thing. “What else were we supposed to do, sisi? The police are scared themselves,” he said.

* Not his real name

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