'Mob justice linked to police inefficiency'

The ISS says factors such as police inefficiencies are fuelling incidents of mob justice.

FILE: Protesters highlight the ongoing cases on mob justice in Khayelitsha on Mandela Day. Picture: Graeme Raubenheimer/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) says a combination of factors is fuelling incidents of mob justice.

Two men were killed by an angry mob in Olievenhoutbosch over the weekend.

At least 13 people have been arrested in connection with the incident.

Speaking on the Redi Tlhabi Show, the institute's Dr Johan Burger says mob justice is a very complex issue.

"It's a very complex phenomenon. You have to look at the origin and causes in many areas. Of course there are major problems in the police service and we've been talking about that for a long time.

"In most instances, there is a link between efficiencies within the police service and the way they deal with complaints and even complainants and suspects and so on. Some communities then experience frustration which often leads to these kinds of vigilante actions. There are instances on records, especially in poor communities, where they call the police and they have to wait for hours."

He says ignorance of the criminal justice also fuels vigilantism.

"Often it is ignorance amongst some communities about how the law works. For example, if someone is out on bail, this person isn't trialled yet, the person is just out on bail as the law provides for and very often when people see that person out on the street again they have no understanding of how the complexities of the law."

At the same time, the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry is underway in Cape Town.

The commission is investigating allegations of police inefficiency following several cases of mob justice in that township.

Burger says the country needs a broader policing commission.

"We have argued at the ISS that we actually need a broader commission of inquiry to look into the police nationally. Not to hit out at the police, but in fact to assist the police to identify the problems it has and how it should be addressed."