There are fears that a series of shootings which left 11 people dead in a Cape Town community could be linked to street justice.
Nyanga Community Policing Forum chairman Martin Makasi said the killings on Friday night in Marikana informal settlement‚ in Philippi‚ followed seven murders on Tuesday night.
Marikana residents have claimed recently that police have failed to protect them from criminals‚ leaving them with no choice but to take matters into their own hands‚ and Makasi said he feared Friday’s shootings were in revenge for what happened earlier in the week.
“Vigilantism can escalate the problem‚” he said‚ because the relatives and friends of those who were targeted “will want to come and fight”.
Pat Lekker‚ the ANC community safety spokesman in the Western Cape‚ said on Saturday: “The ANC calls on calm in the community to allow the law to take its course and expresses condolences to all families who lost loved ones.”
Lekker visited the shooting scenes shortly after the killings‚ consoled family members and encouraged the community to cooperate with investigators.
Police mounted a show of force in Marikana on Saturday morning‚ sending in a team that included specialist detectives‚ high-risk units and intelligence operatives. “We have already executed search operations that are set to continue throughout the day‚” said spokeswoman Brigadier Novela Potelwa.
The killings happened in at least three locations in Marikana‚ east of Cape Town International Airport‚ where about 60‚000 people have set up home after land invasions that began in 2013.
Police said that in the first incident‚ four people were shot dead in a shebeen. Three more were shot dead in a shack‚ with one more victim dying outside‚ and two bodies were found lying between nearby shacks. The 11th victim — one of two wounded people taken to hospital — died on Saturday morning.
Said Potelwa: “We appeal to the community to come forward with information that will lead to the arrest of the perpetrators of these shooting incidents. Meanwhile the police are doing their best to arrest those responsible.”
ANC national spokesman Zizi Kodwa echoed Potelwa‚ saying: “The ANC calls on the community of Marikana‚ Philippi‚ Nyanga and anyone else to come forward with any information they may have to assist the SAPS apprehend the perpetrators of these heinous crimes.
“Criminals live amongst our communities‚ they are harbored by us‚ and until society stands as one against this scourge it will not be defeated.”