Vandalism sparks ‘mob justice’, ‘brutality’

2018-03-22 06:01

THE vandalism of public ablution facilities at the informal settlement Ten Rand in Tokyo Sexwale, Jeffreys Bay sparked alleged mob justice, police brutality and attempted murder.

While the local police are investigating a case of malicious damage to property, community members want to open a case of brutality, and even attempted murder, against the police.

This follows after a heated quarrel broke out on March 6 between the local police and community members - seeing stones thrown and shots fired.

According to Ten Rand resident, Bongani Takane, local residents confronted three men who were suspected of being involved in stealing five doors and two security gates from public toilets in the area at the end of last year.

With the assistance of community members, they managed to recover three of the stolen doors, as well as the two security gates from residents in Ocean View, Jeffreys Bay.

In an attempt to locate the remaining two doors, they publicly confronted the three suspects on March 6.

According to Takane, members of the local police arrived at the scene and a quarrel between community members, the alleged suspects and the police ensued.

According to Police Spokesperson Sergeant Majola Nkohli,

the local police received a complaint of mob justice at Ten Rand at 21:45 on March 6.

“It is alleged that a group of people were assaulting three men who were suspected of beinginvolved in stealing doors from public toilets in that area last year. At the scene, police found three men, who were surrounded by a group of about 100 people. Upon enquiring about the alleged theft incident, it was found that no cases of theft had been opened.

“While trying to resolve the matter, people from the group started to assault the three men, whom they accused of lying. One of the men managed to run away, but the other two were saved by the police, who fired several shots in the air so as to disperse the angry crowd.”

Takane says that all they wanted to do was to ask the three men questions to help them locate the missing two doors, but the police did not afford them the time.

“It is our responsibility to look after the facilities the Kouga Municipality provide us with. We just want to protect what is ours,” says Takane.

Nkholi says, as the police drove away their vehicles were pelted with stones, which da-maged some of the windows.

According to Takane, the police reacted by shooting at the crowd. A resident was allegedly struck in the head. “Fortunately, he was not seriously injured.”

Nkohli denies this allegation.

According to Nkohli, to date, no member of the public has reported a case of attempted murder. “Any person who is alleging that he or she was struck by a bullet during the incident, is urged to report the matter to the Station Commander of Jeffreys Bay Police Station.

“However, after police were pelted with stones, a case of malicious damage to property against community members is under investigation.

“Police would like to urge residents to refrain from operating “kangaroo” courts, and to immediately report criminal activity.”

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