Ninth vigilante murder in Masiphumelele as residents await mobile police station
As residents of Masiphumelele eagerly await the arrival of a mobile police station, investigation of the ninth vigilante murder in the area in recent months continues.
There have been protests in the township near Fish Hoek since the rape and murder of a 14-year-old boy last month.
Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said a man was set alight on Monday night and died of his injuries. He has not yet been identified. Two shacks and a police van were also set alight.
Nontembiso Madikane, of the Masiphumelele Women’s Forum, blamed the attack on a handful of “rogue elements” in the community. “This should not be seen as part of our protest actions. This was individuals acting on their own,” she said.
Last week residents of the Imhoff’s Gift Homeowners Association, a suburb next to the township, raised the R5,000 bail for Lubabalo Vellem, who is charged with at least one of the vigilante killings.
Association chairman Debbie Ellis said: “Masi experienced profound social turmoil because of heinous acts perpetrated against its youth and women. In our opinion the most effective way to normalise the situation … was to secure the release on bail of all persons arrested.”
Clive Bradford, a member of the association, said: “Masi’s frustration is very valid. Crime and drugs affect us all and we need to come together and support them.”
Historian Lutz van Dijk, who has championed the township for years, applauded the association, saying the wealthy needed to realise their safety was “intricately linked to people living in poverty”.
Vellem, a father of six, has been advised by his lawyer not to speak about the charges he is facing. “I am very grateful for the help of people from the association and others, like Lutz,” he said.
“I wish I can say more, but at this stage it is difficult. God knows the truth.”