EDITORIAL | Mob justice can never be condoned but communities deserve to feel safe
Though unlawfulness can never be condoned, taking the law into your own hands is a legacy of being disenfranchised
A mob justice attack in the Zandspruit informal settlement in Johannesburg last week has shocked the community to the core. Nine people were dragged from their homes, rounded up in the streets, brutally assaulted and then burnt alive. The mob who attacked them claimed the gang was behind a spate of robberies in the area.
The community is blaming the police for having to take the law into their own hands. “There are a lot of drugs, gangsterism and lawlessness in our township,” resident Solly Moagi told the Sunday Times. “We can’t condone or justify what happened but we can’t shy away from the fact that the community has been pushed too far. A lot of horrible things happen to women and children around here, and we don’t even have proper services. It’s a mess.”
Police spokesperson Kay Makhubela urged residents to report it if it were true that their calls for help went unanswered. He also told SABC news that a police van sent in to intervene was chased away and stoned by about 200 people. ..