Zandspruit community blames police for mob justice deaths

Community members in the northern Johannesburg township said that police dragged their feet on stopping crime, especially when drug-dealing, robbery, theft and rape were reported to them.

The Zandspruit informal settlement. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - Zandspruit residents have blamed the police for Wednesday morning’s gruesome mob justice incident in which five people accused of a spate of crimes in the area were brutally killed.

Community members in the northern Johannesburg township said that police dragged their feet on stopping crime, especially when drug-dealing, robbery, theft and rape were reported to them.

A group of nine young men were taken to a local sports ground and were beaten up by angry residents who accused them of terrorising the community.

The five who were killed, along with four others who survived the attack, were rounded up, stripped naked, assaulted, doused with petrol and had tyres placed over them before they were set alight.

The vigilante attack that took place in Zandspruit left many unsettled.

While the community, which was plagued by crime, drugs and unemployment, said that they were not proud of what happened, the attack could have been avoided if the police were present.

READ MORE: Zandspruit residents urged to report crimes to SAPS, not turn to vigilantism

“The police are failing us, they are failing us too much, they don’t care. That’s why I am saying if there was a van in that station, these boys would be alive right now. From 2am till 6am there was no van patrolling this area?” resident Maxwell Zikhali explained.

The closest police stations were the ones in Honeydew and Cosmo City.

Police often told residents that they had no vehicles available to attend to their complaints.

Police were also accused of being on the payroll of well-known criminals in the area.

WATCH: Zandspruit mob justice: What led to deaths and multiple injuries

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.