[LISTEN] The rise of vigilantism in South Africa

Operation Wanaya Totsi, a community-based operation against crimes in Galeshewe, Kimberley, has been adopted by the South African Police Service (Saps) as a nationwide campaign.

The idea by Tebogo “ Pantsi “ Obusitse was spurred on by an apparent lack of resources to curb violent crimes in the area.

Obusitse explains how the youth have particularity hard hit by gang related activity in the city.

He says the initiative is not only aimed at criminals but has helped children attain access to quality education.

They do not concentrate only on gangsters and criminals, he says, but focus on education and the safety of children.

Poverty itself will put its hand deep into your community because the community will not be educated and able to help themselves out of the situation.

Tebogo “ Pantsi “ Obusitse, Chairperson of Operation Wanya Totsi

SInce the inception, we have never killed anyone. We have made sure that people that end up being victimised, we take them to the police station. It is our responsibility to make sure that even communities do not kill each other.

Tebogo “ Pantsi “ Obusitse, Chairperson of Operation Wanya Totsi

Speaking on the rise of vigilantism in South Africa, Public Law Lecturer, Dr Mary Nel says the logic has changed over time.

She says vigilantism was politically orientated before 1994 and is now focused on crime and disorder.

And it is not a new phenomenon.

Maybe there is more attention being paid to it at the moment but it has been happening for many years. The violence associated with it cannot be condoned, but it is evidently understandable why they would feel the need to do so.

Dr Mary Nel, Public Law Lecturer at Stellbosch

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