Brutality of mob justice: drug dealer killed during filming of Sizok’thola

A suspected drug dealer was killed in an act of ‘mob justice’ during the filming of a Moja Love show, Sizok’thola.

Lester Kiewit speaks with Annah Moyo-Kupeta, executive director at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation.

In the show Sizok’thola, the host Xolani Khumalo pursues and questions suspected drug dealers.

One of the men accused of being a drug peddler, Robert “Kicks” Varrie, was being questioned by Khumalo and law enforcement officers and ended up being killed.

His girlfriend reportedly saw him being restrained by men in masks, with a plastic bag that had been pepper-sprayed over his head.

Moyo-Kupeta says that in a country like South Africa where vigilantism is all too common, having a show like this can feed into that narrative.

You have emotions running high for community members who are tired of crime and criminality… this is how you end up seeing someone being killed.

Annah Moyo-Kupeta, Executive Director – Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation

RELATED: (WATCH) Sizokthola: the intense reality show ‘keeping drug dealers off streets’

She warns that mob justice and vigilantism lead to ordinary, law-abiding citizens becoming criminals overnight and that someone accused of committing a crime has rights and the criminal justice system should be followed.

Usually, this is missing in a show, so sometimes this in a way trivialises what the criminal justice system is supposed to do.

Annah Moyo-Kupeta, Executive Director – Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation

Image copyright: chalabala/123rf.com
Image copyright: chalabala/123rf.com

The show admits to having a crew in the vicinity at the time of the attack. However, they deny involvement and say they are investigating the circumstances and waiting for the autopsy results.

Listen to the interview for more.


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