The residents said they were tired of being victims of crime and decided to take the law into their own hands and claimed the four lives over three days. Whispering anonymously for fear of reprisals from criminals, they said the killings would not stop until the community was rid of criminals.
“The criminals walk around with bulletproof vests and they will come for you. The police are scared to come in the area and residents are fed up. They make cases but it goes nowhere,” one community leader said.
He added that residents were planning on protesting outside the police station as they are tired of living in fear.
“We have been to Parliament to raise our concerns and we thought we could get some help there, but until now there has been nothing.”
He said vigilante attacks were common and had spiked in the past three months.
Yesterday, a 25-year-old man was dragged from his shack, beaten in the street and killed. His shack was set alight, 50m from where he was killed.
Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed the incident and said police are investigating the circumstances.
Vuyokazi Mzala Zala said residents were tired of crime in the area and some members took it upon themselves to find perpetrators and sort them out.
“There was a person with a loudhailer making an announcement, calling for them to come out and then they were killed. It is a normal thing.”
Mzala Zala said the community was tired of not being heard by police and alleged that the three men killed had raped a woman.
The men were aged between 20 and 30 and were set alight.
“We are tired. They come and rob our houses when we are at work. The incidents also happened when we were sleeping,” others said.
Spokesperson for Deputy Police Minister, Bongani Mkongi, Siyabulela Tom, condemned the incident and said it would engage with the community and police to improve the relationship.
“The community has to work with the police and assist them with information. We must get the police and community to work together."
He said the SAPS condemned the incidents, irrespective of the circumstances.
DA Western Cape spokesperson on community safety Mireille Wenger said according to the "State of Urban Safety in South African Cities" report, Philippi East is the city’s murder capital and not Nyanga, as previously reported.
She said while Nyanga may have the highest number of murders, they need to be looked at in proportion to the population.