By Karabo Ramuttla
Police arrested a ward councillor, Naeem Patel, and two Community Police Forum (CPF) members from Laudium, west of Tshwane, for vigilante acts on Wednesday.
The three are accused of kidnapping, assault and stealing from a man they accused of taking electricity meters on Sunday.
But residents and the Laudium CPF say their members and the councillor are being targeted for fighting crime.
A CPF member, who wished to remain anonymous, said the three arrested should be praised for saving the man’s life.
He said they saved the man from an angry mob that wanted to kill him, by removing him from the angry crowd and calling the police.
He said the man was caught red-handed and admitted to his crimes.
“The charges are disappointing and a deterrent to would-be crime fighters,” the CPF member said.
After the trio’s arrest, hundreds of residents gathered at the Laudium Police Station and begged to be arrested as they are the ones who assaulted the man, but their councillor asked them to retreat.
However, resident Maria Nyalunga accused the CPF and councillor of racism.
She told Scrolla.Africa that the man was picked up walking home in the early hours of Sunday morning.
“Because he is black, they stopped and interrogated him, beat him up and even stole his phone,” she said.
Nyalunga said she knows the man accused of stealing but claims he doesn’t steal.
“I used to ride a taxi with him from Itireleng to Centurion. He’s a decent, respectable man,” she said.
Scrolla.Africa contacted Gauteng police to confirm the case, but despite several requests, no response was delivered.
Pictured above: Residents of Laudium came out in their numbers to demand the release of their councillor and CPF members at the Laudium Police station
Image source: Yusuf-Abramjee Twitter