Leaders condemn Harare ‘mob justice’

PHIRI CAWE

Harare Community Policing Forum (CPF) has warned Khayelitsha residents against vigilantism following the death of a 17-year-old Harare boy after allegedly being beaten by a mob.

The boy was found with open wounds to his head and body on Monday morning, February 1.

Community Police Forum chairperson, Ronnie Busakhwe, has made an impassioned plea to the community not to take the law into their hands.

Mr Busakhwe said the CPF will never condone the beating of people, even if they are known criminals. He urged people to report all those they suspect to be doing bad things to crime-fighting organisations in the community.

He said residents taking the law into their own hands was a crime too. “I am not sure what happened to the young man. I saw (the scene where the body was discovered) when I was travelling to work. I followed up with the police and they told me they suspect mob justice,” Mr Busakhwe said.

He availed himself to people who want to report crimes in their areas, saying he was willing to be the middle man.

“We cannot have a situation where people are killing each other. In our public meetings I always stress that people must report even what they perceive as the smallest crime.

“I feel for that family because they have lost a member of the family. But if the boy was involved in any criminal activities and was known, people should have reported him. The CPF strongly condemns this act of criminality. We appeal to people not to take the law into their hands. If people are scared to go to the police, I am available. The matter will be between me and that person as long as he or she has all the necessary information,” he appealed.

Vigilantism was also strongly condemned by the police. Police said their members are deployed to maintain law and order in all the areas.

Khayelitsha Cluster commander, Major-General Johan Brand, appealed to society as a whole to be part of crime fighting.

Major-General Brand said another problem faced by the Khayelitsha community is a lack of drug rehabilitation centres.

He said most young people in Khayelitsha are on drugs and need help.

Talking about the attack on the 17-year-old boy, Major-General Brand said: “I saw the murder scene. It is a young boy who was supposed to be at school. The problem with many of our children is that they are on drugs. But I am not implying that this young man was on drugs. Maybe those who killed him were. There should be rehabilitation centres for our children,” he said.

He said every death becomes a police problem in the end. He called on the society to unite against crime. “Uluntu lonke (the whole society) should unite and look at these crimes. But we are meeting today (Thursday February 4) to look at some of these matters.

“This boy’s murder is one classical example of things to discuss,” he said. Anyone with information is asked to call Harare police station on 021 363 9000 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.