Langa police have raised concerns over an upsurge in the number of people killed in cases of mob justice in the area.
This, is after a man was allegedly beaten to death by a mob. The man died in hospital from the injuries he sustained in the attack.
Langa police said they were informed of a person who was allegedly assaulted by Langa Safety Patrol (LSP) and who died at Vanguard Community Health Centre (day hospital).
They said the deceased was identified as Sithembele Ndutyana, who resided in Langa.
It is alleged that Mr Ndutyana, who was accused of stealing, was beaten by the members of the safety patrol at Langa graveyard – an allegation that was strongly denied by Langa Safety Patrol.
The Langa Safety Patrol Neighbourhood Watch received the Team of the Year award in the groups award category from the City of Cape Town in 2021 for outstanding achievement in safe-guarding its members and property against crime and other safety-related challenges.
Police said the deceased was allegedly hunted down by patrollers and taken from Benny Street to the Langa graveyard where he was allegedly assaulted from 11am and seriously injured.
They said Mr Ndutyana was brought to the hospital at 7pm by family and the police did not know where he was kept all these hours.
The police have strongly condemned the latest alleged mob killing and warned that they would not tolerate people taking the law into their hands.
According to police, two suspects aged 32 and 34, from Langa have been arrested and were due to appear at Bishop Lavis Magistrate’s Court yesterday, Wednesday January 11, on charges of murder.
Langa station commander, Colonel Tebogo Jacobs, condemned the killing and said police would not hesitate to arrest perpetrators of crime. “The attack took place at roughly 11am on Tuesday January 3 in Langa graveyard, where he (Mr Ndutyana) was given an unrelenting beating,” said Colonel Jacobs.
He said apparently they (the accused) believed he had stolen things from a certain woman who came to report it to them.
“You ask yourself a question, from 11am but he was only taken to hospital at 7pm, what was happening all this time or where were they hiding him. He then passed on at the hospital,” Colonel Jacobs told Vukani.
Colonel Jacobs called on the community to report incidents of mob “justice” to the police.
“I strongly condemn this act. Patrollers or any other grouping have no right to assault and kill people. If people have done something wrong, here is the police station. There are reports that these people have been tormenting the accused. If anyone knows of such cases, please come and report it to the police,” he said.
He warned that those taking the law into their hands will be prosecuted.
However, the station commander also had words of admonishment for his colleagues, the men and women in blue who have pledged to uphold law and order.
Colonel Jacobs said police need to get their act together because people have lost faith and trust in the police. “It is about time that people also act in good faith. Sometimes we blame people and yet the same people have lost trust in us.
“Police are also part of bad things (as) such that people can no longer trust them. It is about time that police get their act together or also face trouble,” he said sternly.
Approached for comment, the Langa Community Policing Forum told Vukani it was aware of the incident but could not comment further because it has not been officially informed. The forum said it was going to meet with the investigation officer or the station commander to get more information.
Langa Safety Patrol is known for catching criminals and parading them on social media and asking them to confess their crime in public – as can be seen on their Facebook page.
However, approached for comment, Langa Safety Patrol member Ayanda Sturrman rubbished the accusation that his organisation was involved in Mr Ndutyana’s death or any other person for that matter.
He said it is not the first time that they are accused of killing. “This is the fourth or fifth time we are being accused. We do not kill people. Yes we do assault them to find truth but not to the extent of killing. Those who are saying we kill are people who do not like us. If I tell you, this is just a plot for the group to disband. We are dealing with crime on our own,” he said.
Asked about their relationship with the police, Mr Stuurman could only say, they (the police) know the safety patrol are stationed at the stadium. He insisted that the community of Langa is happy with the job they are doing.