Zuma calls for calm as Lusikisiki residents gun for ‘vampires’ – Daily dispatch

Lusikisiki residents are so fed up with crime and gangsterism in their area that they vowed before the president and justice and policing ministers they would take the law into their own hands.

They say they have lost confidence in local police, who drag their feet in fighting crime in the area.

Over the weekend, fed up Lusikisiki community members told President Jacob Zuma, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, Justice Minister Michael Masuta, other cabinet ministers and provincial police top brass that they are disillusioned with the criminal justice system of South Africa.

As a result they would continue to take the law into their own hands and aim to kill all gangsters who have been terrorising their communities.

The angry community members would not heed Zumas plea that they instead work with police and other law enforcement agencies to have members of a local gang called Amavondo, which has reportedly been terrorising residents and students, arrested.

Zuma was addressing about 10000 people at Zalu village near Lusikisiki on Saturday during the Siyahlola presidential monitoring visit which placed strong emphasis on building safer communities and improving service delivery.

In March, two men believed to be Amavondo members were found burnt beyond recognition near Ingwe TVET College, while four others were rescued by police.

Those rescued were later charged with two counts of murder, three counts of rape and robbery as well as assault.

Although Lusikisiki is a small rural town, it has a high crime rate, mostly business robberies, murder, ATM bombings, rape and gender based violence.

There are unverified rumours that the young Amavondo members drink human blood, sometimes while their victims are still alive.

There are also concerns that this group is spreading its web as far as Mthatha.

We are fed up with being terrorised by these criminals. We have now organised ourselves and we will protect ourselves, our children and wives from them.

We will fight fire with fire and we will teach them a lesson. We will continue to burn and kill all of them. We will sweep Lusikisiki clean of their criminal activities which have destroyed peace in our community, said community leader Sinathi Mkhumbuzi.

Mkhumbuzi and other speakers, including Ingquza Hill Business Chambers Nondzukiso Makaula, said their community was living in fear of the Amavondo vampires.

Police cant handle them and we have lost confidence in them and the justice system, said Mkhumbuzi.

Makaula told Zuma that community members were now arming themselves, but Zuma condemned vigilantism.

I listened with dismay as one of the speakers had guts and in front of police, boldly said they would continue burning criminals.

We strongly condemn that. People must refrain because if they take the wrong path, the law will take its course, said Zuma.

He said he understood their frustration with gangsterism, but we cannot promote lawlessness.

Police would eventually defeat crime in the area, he tried to say but thousands of people howled him down saying they will not back down as police were not doing anything.

Mbalula said they would deploy more police from specialised units to deal with crime in Lusikisiki.

Police will deal with these Amavondo and soon Lusikisiki will be quiet, he said.

Mbalula said they would return in three weeks to monitor policing in the area.

Police will harshly deal with Amavondo, said Mbalula.

Community members raised other service delivery grievances with the president, saying he should convene a meeting between provincial and national arms of the government to speed up delivery. lulamilef@dispatch.co.za

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Zuma calls for calm as Lusikisiki residents gun for ‘vampires’ – Daily dispatch

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