Two murders in two different communities – we are all called to action
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
In the past 24 hours, two different communities have been rocked by murders that call for serious introspection and immediate action.
In the first incident, a young man living in Hout Bay, originally not from South Africa, was stabbed to death by three alleged assailants before being robbed of his cellphone. The excessive violence used in the robbery is further cause for serious concern.
The second incident took place in Khayelitsha yesterday where three alleged criminals suffered an alleged vigilante attack – one died on the scene after being burnt and two others are in hospital.
The murders must stop.
As part of my oversight mandate over policing in the province I will request an update from the Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Thembisile Patekile, on the South African Police Service’s (SAPS’) visible policing efforts in both communities – as a first deterrent for criminal activity.
However, the nature of the crimes warrant a deeper investigation by the Provincial SAPS Management on the police’s crime intelligence ability to detect, monitor and prevent vigilante attacks by being aware of community police relations – a lack of such relations should be addressed before communities turn to criminality themselves.
Though there is a serious case to be made for the apparent lack of police visibility fuelling the policing dissatisfaction and frustrations which are associated with either vengeance attacks, as in the Khayelitsha incident, or with increasing feeling of being unsafe in public spaces, as in the Hout Bay incident, the police are not solely to blame for these murders.
Safety is everyone’s responsibility and these murders must be condemned by all of us.
It must be stressed that safety cannot be created by taking the law into one’s own hands. Murder is a crime and I trust that the police investigation in both incidents will identify the murderers who will face the full might of the law. Vigilantism is a crime and it will not be tolerated by law enforcement agencies. Anyone involved in any incident of vigilante killings becomes a criminal themselves.
We all need to ask ourselves what we, individually, can do to help make my own immediate environment safer and take responsibility for the actions we use to do that. I urge our communities to use the available structures like the Neighbourhood Watches and the Community Policing Forums to help increase safety and prevent crime from occurring.
Report all crimes and if you feel the police is not doing what they are supposed to, alternatives exist to taking the law into your own hands:
Spokesperson for Minister Plato
Cell: 079 694 1113