Five minors arrested for vigilante attack

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, has condemned the brutal vigilante attack and subsequent killing of a Limpopo man over the past weekend.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo said five suspects, aged 15 and 16, were arrested on Tuesday for the murder.

On Saturday, Naidoo said, an unknown number of young people allegedly assaulted the 28-year-old man at Flora Park in Polokwane. The man was taken to hospital for medical treatment but he later succumbed to his injuries.

“Upon hearing this, General Sitole immediately instructed the province to mobilise the 72-hour Activation Plan citing that we, meaning the police and society at large, should not tolerate anyone performing acts that serve only to undermine the authority of the State,” he said.

“Once again the effect of the 72-hour Activation Plan was felt as a joint multidisciplinary SAPS team worked around the clock and arrested five suspects yesterday afternoon. To compound the ruthlessness of the attack on the man, not only are the suspects involved between the ages of 15 and 16 years old, but the incident was also filmed and posted on social media.”

The social media post also reflected one of the young suspect's claiming to be a son of a senior policeman and that the police could do nothing about what he had done.

The same suspect is now among those behind bars and he is the son of a retired SAPS Warrant Officer.

“His arrest is clearly indicative that nobody can claim to be above the law and expect to get away with heinous deeds,” Naidoo said.

In the statement, Sitole commended the Limpopo police of for their speedy response. He said the swift action highlighted to those who exercise lawlessness will be arrested and made to face the full brunt of the law. 

“Any act of vigilantism is as much criminal as the action of the person accused of committing a crime,” he said.

The National Commissioner has called on communities to work with the police rather than taking the law into their own hands. "Vigilantism simply cannot be accepted as an approach to dealing with crime and criminals," added General Sitole.

The arrested five Grade nine and ten learners will appear in the Polokwane Magistrates Court on Thursday on a charge of murder. –