Khayelitsha mob sets man alight

A Khayelitsha man was beaten and set alight by community members after he allegedly stole a handbag.

A Khayelitsha man was beaten and set alight by community members after he allegedly stole a handbag.

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape police on Tuesday condemned the latest vigilante killing in Khayelitsha.

Lindile Maci was beaten to death and set alight by a mob after being accused of stealing a handbag.

Khayelitsha experienced a surge in mob-justice killings last year, which resulted in Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's establishing of a commission of inquiry into policing in the area. Zille also set up the inquiry to investigate claims police in Khayelitsha were ineffective. The probe has, however, been hindered by an on-going court battle between Zille and the Police ministry.

Retired Judge Kate O'Regan and former National Director of Public Prosecutions boss Vusi Pikoli are heading the inquiry.

The police's Andre Traut said, "Vigilantism is strongly condemned by the South African Police Service (SAPS). If you take the law into your own hands, you will be prosecuted like a criminal."

Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said he hopes arrests are made soon.

"If the SAPS cannot make the necessary breakthrough with the latest spate of vigilante killings in Nyanga and Khayelitsha it will send out the wrong message, the perception that it is okay to take the law into their own hands."

Plato was adamant vigilante killings could not be tolerated in the Western Cape.

He admitted he was particularly concerned by a growing number of people who felt it was justifiable to take the law into their own hands.

"People believe, due to the fact that they experience problems with the police, that they can take the law into their own hands."

More than 10 mob justice killings were recorded in the area in 2012.

In September last year a 26-year-old man from the Harare informal settlement was stoned and beaten to death for allegedly stealing a cellphone.

His suspected accomplice, a 28-year-old man, was also stoned before being torched.