The community policing forum has blamed the failing justice system for releasing suspects on bail who then just commit the same crimes again.
In the latest incident a 58-year-old woman, Magdalene Patience, was killed on Saturday morning when her house in Framesby Street, Wesbank, was petrol bombed. Police confirmed on Monday that a second petrol bomb was thrown at another house in the same street in which Patience died. They said no arrests had been made.
Wesbank resident Edith van Wyk said that in March this year a 14-year-old girl died when a petrol bomb was thrown at her home. Prior to this, a 30-year-old woman was also killed when a petrol bomb was thrown at her house.
“In some of the cases people were arrested but later received bail, people are scared to be witnesses because they fear they will be killed,” she said.
Patrick Madasi of Wesbank Community Policing Forum (CPF) said: “Gangsterism is getting worse in Wesbank. Especially because petrol bombs are thrown at people's homes. They are also intimidating people in this way. Police make arrests but tomorrow these guys are out of jail again. We do have initiatives such as the walking bus ladies that walk children to school, because of the gang violence,” he said.
Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said he was aware of houses that were petrol bombed in Wesbank. He said that excluding the incident in which Magdalene Patience died, the others were gang related.
“I reject this incident and any form of violence. This is the scourge of gangsterism. I hope the police make arrests. My condolences go to the family of the woman (Patience) who died,” he said.
Mthunzi Mhaga, Justice and Constitutional Development Department spokesperson, said he was not familiar with the petrol bomb cases.