Eastern Cape Transport, Safety and Liaison MEC Weziwe Tikana has condemned senseless attacks on women in the province.
Tikana highlighted a number of attacks on women in the province, and said this could not continue. She mentioned cases such as the recent cannibal attack in KwaBhaca (Mount Frere) and the callous attack on two female sangomas in East London.
"Police arrested a 33-year-old man, who allegedly murdered his wife and hid her body for five days under a bed in a shack in his yard, in Breidbach, King Williams Town. He handed himself over to the police when angry community members threatened to torch his mother's house," said Tikana.
"A 45-year-old woman was fatally shot by two armed men at Kwetshe Location, Ngunduza Village, in Centane, on September 5. The two men then proceeded to another homestead not far from the home of the deceased, where they shot and killed two more women, aged 49 and 60. While it's being investigated, no arrests have been made."
Tikana highlighted a number of other incidents, before appealing to the community to assist in curbing crime in the province.
"Ensuring safety in communities cannot be the sole responsibility of SAPS, although they are the main stakeholder in crime prevention, but it ought to be a collective effort from all of us.
"Communities should now take centre stage and expose the criminal behaviour, so that the people can live in peace and harmony with one another," she said.
Tikana said communities should strengthen existing community policing forums and assist in ensuring strong street and village committees. Where they were non-existent, Tikana urged communities to establish structures.
"Communities need to be involved, not only in determining policing priorities in their areas, but also in identifying the crime prevention needs and strategies as well," she said.
"I further asked that the police support all the legal community structures in the fight against crime, as they are critical strategic partners in this fight against crime."
'Revenge seekers become criminals themselves'
Tikana also called for communities to report criminal activities, and expose the perpetrators, rather than take the law into their own hands.
She cited an incident in Chetty, Port Elizabeth, where a 49-year-old woman and her 3-year-old granddaughter were brutally beaten, and a television stolen. The woman later died as a result of her injuries.
Tikana said the community had attacked a man believed to be involved in the crime, beating him so severely that he died from his injuries on the following day. A second suspect was later found shot dead.
"A stern warning is issued to members of the community, not to take the law into their own hands.
"The SAPS will not tolerate this behaviour, because revenge seekers become criminals themselves, and SAPS will have no option but to arrest them for their unlawful actions," she warned.
Tikana said she would be tasking the Provincial Commissioner of SAPS and the acting Head of Department for Community Safety and Liaison to provide her with a comprehensive strategy to be implemented.
"They must further provide me with a plan that will ensure the education of our communities in the fight against crime, especially in the rural areas."