Mob Justice: More harm than good?


There have been so many action-packed movies about vigilantes taking the law into their own hands. Many of them have even been turned into sequels or series. But what happens when community members are up in arms?

Bloemfontein Courant spoke to Bloemfontein police spokesperson, Thabo Covane, to find out more about the implications of mob justice.

Covane defines this act as “Jungle justice or mob justice or lynching – it’s a form of public extrajudicial killings, where an alleged criminal is publicly humiliated, beaten and summarily executed by vigilantes or an angry mob.”

The law, according to him, states that no one has the right to assault or injure anyone.

Perpetrators of mob justice, however, have a firm belief that they are solving a problem by taking the law into their own hands by dealing with or eliminating criminals. This can, however, make things much worse and may lead to complicated investigations.

“Every case needs to be investigated thoroughly so that the correct suspects can be arrested and the wheels of justice can come into motion. Members of the community who involve themselves in vigilante act, risk being arrested and spending a long time behind bars or in jail. Perpetrators do get arrested,” Covane warns.

He says that in most cases a quarrel breaks out between two people and others join in to assault one person or members of the community accuse a person of a particular crime and decide to meet illegal punishment on their suspect.

Community Policing Forums (CPF) have been set up to involve all local stakeholders and key organisations in local policing. The adoption of community policing did not only turn around the crime situation, but changed the way the SAPS addresses crime.

According to SAPS, the role of the community is to support the implementation of sector policing and to act as the eyes and ears of the SAPS.

If you see something, say something by calling SAPS crime stop on 08600-10-111 or download the MYSAPS mobile app.

Incidents in the past 6 months:

Bloemspruit area; at Phase 6 where three people were arrested by the police.

Kagisanong; Masike Street where three suspects were arrested by the police.

Thaba Nchu; where four suspects were arrested by the police… that is to mention a few.

Gypseenia Lion