Thoriso Themane's death highlights the scourge of vigilantism in SA

The killing of Thoriso Themane in an alleged mob attack in Flora Park, Polokwane in Limpopo on Saturday, has raised a lot of questions about vigilantism.

Is vigilantism on the rise in South Africa and how vital is social media in highlighting issues of injustice?

Without the #JusticeforThoriso trending throughout the country, might have this gruesome killing have been so widely exposed?

READ: Limpopo Edu Dept confirms teen bragging about Themane killing has been arrested

Lawyer and social activist Tumi Sole who is one of those who exposed the senseless death of Themane speaks to Bongani Bingwa.

Sole notes that this horrific murder happened over the weekend.

Read also: Thoriso Themane's friend says he is traumatised by his senseless killing

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday I was getting texts, but when I saw the video, it was quite gruesome and it was the people that are based in Limpopo who kept tagging me.

Tumi Sole, Lawyer and social activist

And with my followers, the least I could do is to try to galvanise support and getting the attention of the authorities.

Tumi Sole, Lawyer and social activist

He adds it can be dangerous when people who were not even part of the attack may be falsely accused.

We all know the impact of social media in that community, so I urge people to tread carefully when it comes to attacking people falsely.

Tumi Sole, Lawyer and Social activist

Director of Safety and Violence Initiative at the University of Cape Town, Dr Guy Lamb, weighed in on the conversation saying even though there is no specific data on vigilantism, it is known that vigilantism is prevalent in certain areas.

It happens in very specific areas and in specific cases, where you will have community groups that will engage in vigilantism - but it doesn't involve people dying.

Dr Guy Lamb, Director of Safety and Violence Initiative - University of Cape Town

What we do know about it, is that it happens in communities that are affected by very high levels of crime, that are affected by poor levels of policing.

Dr Guy Lamb, Director of Safety and Violence Initiative - University of Cape Town

He explains that these communities feel the police are not effective and may be corrupt.

It is a sense around that we want justice for our community, therefore, we have to assert some form of control.

Dr Guy Lamb, Director of Safety and Violence Initiative - University of Cape Town

Listen below to the full interview:


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