Two men were stoned and burnt to death in Philippi on Tuesday. Residents who were there told us why

“People don’t trust police because they know the suspect is going to be released in a few days or weeks or the case might be thrown out of court for lack of evidence.”

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The site where two men were stoned and burnt to death on Tuesday afternoon in Philippi. Photo: Sandiso Phaliso

Two men were stoned and set alight in Eyadini informal settlement in Philippi, Cape Town, on Tuesday afternoon.

Nyanga police detectives are investigating the murders.

“The motive for the attack is yet to be established and arrests are yet to be made,” said Western Cape police spokesperson Wesley Twigg.

It appears however that the men were killed by community members who suspected them of robbery.

The identities of the victims are not known. A gruesome video that GroundUp has seen shows the remains of the two men still burning.

“No one knows anything but we were all there,” a resident told us.

The two men were believed to be “hardcore criminals” who robbed and burgled, GroundUp was told.

Community members spoke to GroundUp in the presence of community leaders on condition that they would remain anonymous and would be protected.

Here is some of what they said: “Not everybody participates in such incidents, but no one speaks out and says no [stop]. People are fed up with crime. When criminals are caught red-handed, they are punished with their lives.”

“Criminals are known and they roam around us and they get away with their crimes at times because there is no proof, but if there is proof they know they are dead.”

“People don’t trust police because they know the suspect is going to be released in a few days or weeks or the case might be thrown out of court for lack of evidence. They resort to taking the law into their hands to send a message to would-be criminals that eventually crime does not pay.”

“It is a kangaroo court. Everybody asks questions and when the suspect gives a negative answer they are assaulted. Hands and feet are tied and all sorts of weapons used and stones.”

Police have asked people to come forward, but GroundUp was told by members of the community that people who provide the police with information are not safe.

“Going forward means I will have to go to court against the people living in my same neighbourhood. I will die or be a loner. Here we keep our own peace how we see best,” said a member of the community.

TOPICS:  Crime Policing

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