FLORA-PARK– South African Police Service (SAPS) National Commissioner, General Khehla Sithole has strongly condemned what appeared to be an act of vigilantism which resulted in the gruesome attack and subsequent death of a man in Polokwane.
According to police on Saturday, 23 February 2019, an unknown number of young people allegedly assaulted a 28-year-old man at Flora Park in Polokwane. The man was taken to hospital for medical treatment but he later succumbed to his injuries.
Upon hearing this, General Sithole immediately instructed the province to mobilise a 72-Hour Activation Plan citing the police and society at large, should not tolerate anyone performing acts that serve only to undermine the authority of the State.
Once again the effect of the 72 hour Activation Plan was felt as a joint multidisciplinary SAPS team worked around the clock and arrested five suspects.
General Sithole commended police for their speedy response, highlighting that the kind of response was a message to those who exercised lawlessness and that they would be arrested and made to face the full brunt of the law.
To compound the ruthlessness of the attack on the man, not only were the suspects involved, between the ages of 15 and 16 years old,the incident was also filmed and posted on social media.
According to police the social media post also reflected one of the young suspects claiming to be a son of a senior policeman and that the police could do nothing about what he had done.
Police said the same suspect was now among those behind bars and son of a retired SAPS Warrant Officer.
“His arrest is clearly indicative that nobody can claim to be above the law and expect to get away with heinous deeds” said police in statement.
The statement further read that any act of vigilantism was as much criminal as the action of the person accused of committing a crime.
“The Community Policing Strategy that was launched last year together with the Community in Blue Concept that advocates active citizenry where the participation of communities in the fight against crime becomes every individual’s responsibility,” further said the statement.
The National Commissioner has called on communities to work with the police rather than taking the law into their own hands.
“Vigilantism simply cannot be accepted as an approach to dealing with crime and criminals” added General Sithole.
The arrested five Grade nine and ten learners will appear in the Polokwane Magistrates Court on Thursday, 28 February 2019 on a charge of murder.