Cape Town -
Three men were beaten and stoned to death in Sweet Home farm after they were suspected of being rapists.
Residents there told the Cape Times on Monday a spate of rapes had occurred in the area, and this had prompted them to take matters into their own hands.
The three bodies were discovered on Monday morning at the informal settlement in Philippi.
Police spokesman Tembinkosi Kinana said two of the men, aged 21 and 39, were stoned to death, with their wrists tied together. Both were from Samora Machel.
About 500m from there, another man, in his thirties, was found dead on a pavement, with burn wounds. “He seemed to have been assaulted and partly burnt,” said Kinana.
He said anyone with information on the murders should contact the police.
Residents said the third man was from Victoria Mxenge, a settlement near Nyanga.
Shack-dwellers’ movement Abahlali baseMjondolo provincial chairman Siyamboleka James, who lives in Sweet Home, said residents had initially had a meeting on Saturday to discuss the scourge of rape in the area and what to do about it.
James said residents had been angry and wanted to patrol. He told residents they should include police in their patrols, and they had agreed.
He said he had been in the process of arranging a meeting between the community and police when another woman was raped on Saturday night. The community met without him on the following day, he said.
James acknowledged that there had been an increase in crime - particularly rape.
But he said he would not defend vigilante actions.
“It doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t like it when people are killed. To reduce crime, you can’t commit another,” James said.
Another community leader, Forrest Ndathane, said he felt unsafe with the increase in reported rape incidents.
“Every morning, we get reports that a person has been raped. These criminals just kick doors and rape women in front of their husbands,” Ndathane said.
He said there was another incident in which a 17-year-old girl and her 18-year-old sister were raped last month.
A resident said she had been a victim of a rape on February 9 when three armed men stormed her home while she was with her boyfriend and neighbours. The men kicked her door open before two of the men raped her.
She said her boyfriend and the neighbours were told to lie flat on the ground.
“I’m really pleased with what the community did. We are being terrorised by people who come from other areas,” she said.
She said they had called the police but they did not respond. Her sisters then went to Samora Machel, and a police van was sent to her home.
A resident, who did not want to be named, fearing victimisation from others, said a group of men patrolled the informal settlement on Sunday night.
She said the patrollers also demolished a shack belonging to a woman they suspected of harbouring criminals and a second belonging to a known gangster. - Cape Times