SAHRC condemns alleged Diepsloot vigilantism

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has called for swift action against any criminality in Diepsloot but also warned residents not to take the law into their own hands.

This as the township was rocked by violent protests against alleged inefficient policing last week.

“The Commission calls on the South African Police Service (SAPS) and all other State institutions tasked with law enforcement to provide the necessary resources to affected communities to ensure that they feel safe and can fully enjoy their basic human rights.

“The Commission reiterates its call on community leaders, politicians, State officials and community leaders from refraining from encouraging ordinary members of communities to take the law into their own hands. It is unlawful and highly dangerous to have disparate groups of ordinary community members entering people’s homes and without due process, accusing them of criminality and taking violent, often deadly, action,” the SAHRC said in a statement.

The SAHRC also called for a thorough investigation into the murder of Diepsloot resident Elvis Nyathi, who died allegedly at the hands of mob of residents after being accused of being an illegal immigrant.

He was beaten, stoned and burnt to death.

“The brutal murder of Elvis Nyathi… is a tragic and outrageous act of vigilantism that must be condemned by all law abiding people. The Commission is deeply concerned by vulnerable groups, especially foreign nationals, being targeted and scapegoated for the prevalence of social ills within communities.

“Various individuals as community leaders, and groups have emerged recently, stoking flames of xenophobia, which places the blame for social ills such as crime, poverty and unemployment solely on migrants within South Africa.

“The Commission hopes that swift action will deal with the criminality that the Diepsloot community members are concerned with, and calls on all concerned, officials and the community of Diepsloot to remain law abiding and to resolve issues in a manner that is acceptable in a democracy, and to ensure that social cohesion is also attained,” the SAHRC said.

Meanwhile, Gauteng Premier David Makhura has warned residents not to engage in work that should be carried out by law enforcement.

“We can’t support any South African who takes the law into their own hands. You can’t have people moving door to door, saying they are identifying foreign nationals. It is not the job of anybody to do that except law enforcement agencies.

“Once anyone is allowed to do that, innocent people are going to be killed. Even if somebody is in South Africa illegally, they cannot be killed,” Makhura said.