News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Thursday September 19th 2019

Vigilantes chase families out of Khayelitsha

Residents of Makhaza, Khayelitha walk past the house of a suspected drug dealer that was destroyed by a vigilante group on Tuesday. Photo: Nombulelo Damba/WCN

Residents of Makhaza, Khayelitha walk past the house of a suspected drug dealer that was destroyed by a vigilante group yesterday. Photo: Nombulelo Damba/WCN

A group of residents in Makhaza, Khayelitsha burnt down a suspected drug merchant’s house on Tuesday and say they are actively hunting out criminals in the area.

The vigilante group say they are on a mission to chase criminals out of Makhaza and are actively searching our suspected criminals in the area following a decision taken at a community general meeting on Friday last week.

Besides burning down the suspected drug merchant’s shack on Tuesday, three young men suspected of being criminals were beaten and they, and their families, have been chased out of Makhaza since Friday.

The vigilante group’s actions comes in the wake of nine people reported necklaced or burnt for suspected thieving in Khayelitsha this year.

Residents say they are on a mission to get rid of criminals.

“We tired of criminals, these boys are using tik and they do not have mercy when they robbed people because they were high. As residents we decided to take our the root of the problem and that’s why we burnt down this shack,” said a woman who did not want to be named.

Makhaza residents, wary of being arrested by police for involvement in vigilante action, said the suspected drug merchant was warned to put a stop to her activities.

A residents committee member said her drug dealing was reported to the police but nothing was done.

The committee member said they believed police were the ones supplying the dealer with drugs.

“Police are also part of the problem, they’re protecting criminals. Several times we went to police station to report the matter and instead they keep on sending the same police officer we complained about, that he’s supplying this woman with drugs.”

Even though residents did not want to speak to the media, they smiled when asked about vigilante activities.

“We can walk free now, every morning we were scared to go to work because these criminals were here to buy tik. People have been robbed so many times and the owner did not care,” said one resident.

Eye-witness said four petrol bombs were thrown into the house while the suspected drug dealer and her family were inside.

However, the family managed to escape before getting burned.

“The family was inside. Lucky they escaped. I think the have a hole at the back to use it to escape when police came to search the house.”

Provincial spokesperson FC van Wyk said said the owner of the house that was burnt down laid a complaint at the Harare police station.

Van Wyk said the complainant alleged that he was inside his house with his family when a window he heard a window breaking at about 8pm. He saw four known suspects, one of them carrying a 5 litre container. He said the house was then set alight and burnt down.

Van Wyk said the family managed to escape through a back door.

Regarding the allegation that police were involved in alleged drug activity at the house, he said no complaints from the community regarding the matter had been made.

He said according to the complainant enmity between his family and the community began in 2003 when he refused to attend community meetings.

A case of arson has been opened for investigation. — Nombulelo Damba


Tags: Khayelitsha, Makhaza, vigilantism

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