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South Africa 2010: Township justice


South Africa 2010: Township justice


Chris Cummins, journalist euronews

“We are in Diepsloot a township just outside Johannesburg, 50 kilometres away is Soccer City where the grand opening ceremony and the final itself of the 2010 World Cup will take place, but we could be in another world.”

Security is a huge business in South Africa the affluent live in secure compounds, fenced off- invisible from the streets.

In the very poorest areas a more basic and brutal form of law and order is in place.

Golden Mtika is a township journalist he spoke to euronews about the issues of crime and punishment in a community where poverty is everywhere.

Golden Mtika: township journalist

“Crime is the main issue here.”

Chris Cummins: euronews

“How does the community here protect itself?”

Golden Mtika:

“ Well, the community they take the law into their own hands, just because they don’t have trust in the police, because what happens in most cases they apprehend someone and they hand them over to the police, after two days that person is out…is on the streets and that angers the community.”

Chris Cummins:

“So what does that result in?”

Golden Mtika:

“It results in mob justice when they suspect someone, they grab him, put the tyre round him, pour petrol, they set him alight.”

“So they are burning people alive?”

“They burn him alive, they burn him alive. They can do anything, pelt him with stones, sharp objects until the person becomes unconscious then they set him alight.”

“ During the day there’s lots of people around here men, women, kids, shops, people walking down the streets, smiling faces, when night descends what happens?”

“When night descends its dangerous.”

Golden Mtika:

“ The future isn’t good as such for people who live here because also we have a shortage of basic services so there will be a strong protest that has been organised its in the pipeline.”

“So what do you think will happen there?”
“It often times it tends to be violent, it tends to be violent.”

“ Why do you think there is such an association between politics and violence?”

“ Well, in the past that was the only strategy that the ANC used to the fight the previous regime, they resorted to toy toying on the street and they resorted to tyre burnings and that has grown roots in people and that’s how they express their anger.”

“So what about this influx of Zimbabweans coming into South Africa from Mugabe’s mess?”

“ There are quite a lot…What they do at the border is they jump the fence and there is a truck outside waiting for them and there is a transporter, he takes them down to South Africa and when they get here in Diepsloot, what happens is they get locked in a shack, maybe a total number of 20 or 15, they are not free, they are not free to come and go out of the shack, unless such a time as when money is paid that is when the person is opened up from the shack to go.”

“So they are locked in there”

“They get locked in there and there is a small bucket that is used as a toilet for them and sometimes it happens that there are women amongst them and incidents of sexual abuse have been reported to the police.”

“So they came here to South Africa for a better life?”


Golden Mtika:

“There is a lot that will happen after the World Cup you remember what last year in May we had the xenophobia issue. I suspect it will still happen, it will still happen, people are playing it cool,just because they want to protect the World Cup and they don’t want to portray South Africa as a bad nation, but is on the lips of people they still speak about it.”

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