Public urged to refrain from vigilantism

The recovered vehicle. Photo: supplied
The recovered vehicle. Photo: supplied

AN operation conducted by the Phoenix Tactical Response Team as well as the Umhlali Dog Unit in the KwaDukuza area this past weekend saw the arrest of several suspects for various crimes.

Thokozani Thabethe (29) and Sihle Mfeka (34), who were arrested at different times in different areas and are not at all connected, appeared in the KwaDukuza Magistrate’s Court on 7 December for being in possession of unlicensed firearms.

In a separate incident, a double murder occurred in the Malende area last week after two victims were assaulted with sticks, stones, sjamboks and other weapons.

One of the victims died at the scene and the other later succumbed to his injuries at the Stanger Regional Hospital.

Police believe the two were victims of an act of vigilantism as they were suspected of being criminals by the local community.

KwaDukuza SAPS spokesperson, warrant officer Johannes Khoza, urged members of the public to refrain from taking the law into their own hands.

He said two issues of concern with vigilantism are that some members of the public take that opportunity to further personal interests and “somewhat crooked agendas”. “Secondly, crucial evidence at the crime scene gets tampered with in most cases of vigilantism,” said Khoza.

He said if members of the community are critical of the police’s response to crime reports they should do so constructively and follow the correct channels to report this, including reporting to the station commander then the cluster commander and further up the rankings of the force.

Another murder occurred at Elias Tavern in Charlottedale, Saturday, 5 December, at around midnight.

According to the police, paramedics declared the victim dead on the scene. Police appeal to anyone with information about the suspect’s whereabouts to contact the KwaDukuza SAPS.

“We demand that liquor license holders who operate taverns to comply with business hours. All taverns must no longer be operating at 12am,” said Khoza. He said the police would take the necessary action against those who fail to comply.
He invited all liquor licence holders to attend a meeting that will be held at the iLembe Auditorium on Friday, 11 December at 9am, where issues around compliance, and tips for those without licenses, will be discussed. “We will also unveil a comprehensive plan with safety and security measures aimed at curbing crime and road crashes,” said Khoza.

In a separate incident, a body of a man believed to have been stabbed to death was found under a tree in Thembeni, at the Nxumalo taxi stop on Saturday, 6:45pm.

Khoza issued a stern warning to members of the community who drink alcohol in public under the false belief that drinking in public is no longer an offense.

“The SAPS are well within the legal right to arrest and charge an individual found to be driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol,” he said.

He urged members of stokvels who would be cashing out their investments to be vigilant and cautious as more criminals would be targeting them.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Phoenix tactical response team members were patrolling in the KwaDukuza area when they followed up information about a suspicious vehicle in the area.
“The driver was searched and was found in possession of a 9mm pistol with ammunition,” said KZN SAPS spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane.
It was established that the vehicle was earlier reported stolen in the Hillcrest area.

“On further investigation, the suspect took the members to his homestead at Maphumulo area where they recovered two AK47 assault rifles and ammunition hidden under his bed. The suspect (35) was charged accordingly and will appear in the KwaDukuza Magistrate’s Court on charges of possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition, as well as possession of a suspected stolen vehicle,” Zwane said.

“On Thursday the KwaDukuza SAPS as well as sister departments will have a march against whoonga from the police station to Blythedale beach. The theme of the march is: ‘Dress like a hobo’. There will also be a 10km fun run as well as a fun walk. We urge our community to support us in their numbers,” said Khoza.

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