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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Daily Maverick by Cristopher Clark. This is part one of a three-part series on vigilantism in South Africa.]

Amid rampant crime and gansterism, a group called Operation Wanya Tsotsi has sprung up to try and make Galeshewe in Kimberley a safer place to live. This is part one of a three-part series on vigilantism in South Africa.

On a cold July evening in the township of Galeshewe on the Western flank of Kimberley, members of Operation Wanya Tsotsi gather at dusk on an open patch of ground beside the main thoroughfare, where they discuss cases for the night ahead. Some members are wearing branded orange and yellow high visibility vests; others are sporting new all-in-one navy blue Operation Wanya Tsotsi overalls, sponsored by a local night club.

Most of the cases for the night pertain to robbery of personal belongings and house break-ins, with the stolen goods ranging from cell phones and plasma TVs to braai tongs and lawn mowers. According to Pantsi Obusitse, the group’s chairperson, almost all of these crimes are committed at knife-point. “We live in a knife-infested community,” he says.

Obusitse, a 37-year-old Labour Relations Officer for the Department of Education, is one of the founding members of Operation Wanya Tsotsi. The controversial community crime-fighting group, initially formed in March 2015 to combat rampant gangsterism and violent crime in Galeshewe, which had culminated in a spate of gang-related murders claiming 17 deaths in a matter of weeks at the start of that year.

Continue reading here.  Read part two here.

South Africa at a Glance
58 780 000 (mid 2019 estimate)
4.1% y/y in March 2020 (CPI) & +4.5 y/y in February 2020 (PPI)
-1.4% q/q (4th quarter of 2019)
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