Johannesburg - A crusader has been cleaning up Johannesburg's crime-ridden streets in the dead of the night.
There have been several sightings of this nameless vigilante - nicknamed Shadow - and his good deeds have made headlines.
In an e-mail sent to Independent Media, the city’s new hero spoke out about his decision to turn vigilante - but preferred to keep his identity a secret.
He said: "I am sick of seeing crime escalate in the streets of Johannesburg. It's everywhere; in the papers, on TV and on Twitter. But no one is willing to step in and help the people in need. Law enforcement in South Africa is laden with corruption. So I thought to myself: 'You have the power to save them, why don't you?' And that is what I did."
Two of the sightings of Shadow so far have been in the Maboneng Precinct, with witnesses singing his praises.
A quick recap for those in the dark.
On March 1, he saved a young woman named Nosipho (not her real name), from becoming another human trafficking statistic.
When Independent Media contacted her, she revealed: "I thought I was quite literally done for. Then, out of nowhere, a man dressed in black came to my rescue. I remember him kicking one of my captors to the ground. He then grabbed the other and swung him into an electric fence. I remember the first guy, while getting onto his feet, being caught off guard by the force that his partner was thrown towards the fence. It was like two cars colliding."
With emotions getting the better of her, she said the captors being in excruciating pain as they tried to make a break for it.
Not long after, two members of the public witnessed Shadow in hot pursuit of a thief who stole a woman's of her handbag near Gautrain Park Station.
They couldn’t stop singing his praises.
Another fan of Shadow is a resident from Hillbrow.
He said: "A couple of weeks ago, I was walking home after a night out at with the boys at the Summit Strip Club. A couple of drunk thugs were punching and kicking some guy in an alley. From what I overheard, it was about cash being owed - lots of it. A man, wearing all black, with his face uncovered, grabbed one of them attacking the other guy, and put him in a chokehold. The rest of his accomplices, clearly in complete fear, bolted faster than Caster Semenya.
"I know people think I’m making it a bigger deal than it was. But what I witnessed with my two eyes, I won’t forget," he added.
Meanwhile, Minister of Police Bhekokwakhe "Bheki" Hamilton Cele isn’t happy about a vigilante roaming the streets of Johannesburg.
He said: "He is a civilian who is enforcing the law without legal authority. The subordination that comes with the God-complex of vigilantism will not be tolerated."
"We all need to stand up and be counted, not stand by when people need us. Vigilantism is what helps the law, and I should not be villainised for it. I didn’t choose this, but it is what I am."
Do you feel safer in Maboneng because of him? Will the SAPS succeed in apprehending him?
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