To stop mob justice, restore SA’s faith in our criminal justice ...

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To stop mob justice, restore SA’s faith in our criminal justice system

While sometimes understandable, mob justice is not acceptable as only the state has the right to render justice

Dr Sazelo Mkhize, Khanyisile Majola and Dr Samuel Fikiri Cinini

Mob justice has been observed in diverse cultural and historical settings. It takes hold when the population deems local government and law enforcement ineffective and untrustworthy. This phenomenon emerged in many modern post-conflict states such as the post-Civil War US, post-World War 2 Eastern Europe, and Northern Ireland.

SA became a democratic country in 1994, marking the end of the harsh, protracted apartheid regime. Over many decades, institutionalised racial segregation and state-sanctioned violence eroded trust between communities and law enforcement; and the relationship was characterised by extreme antagonism. Despite efforts to police society more inclusively, high levels of inequality, as well as crime and interpersonal violence (IPV), persist.

The word “crime” generally evokes images of murder, rape, drug abuse, drug trafficking, terrorism, aggravated assault, aggravated burglary, armed robbery, arson, theft, or similar dramatic acts. Anyone committing one or more of these crimes is subject to mob justice where law enforcement fails to attend to the matter urgently...

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