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-- THE ARCHIVE --


SOUTH AFRICA

Judicial CP - November 1998



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Agence France Presse, 5 November 1998

Unlikely allies fight crime

Own Correspondent, Johannesburg, Thursday

WHITE right-wing farmers are joining a growing black vigilante group in a bid to deal with the crime plaguing South Africa, a Johannesburg daily reported on Thursday.

The group, called Mapogo a Mathamaga, was Thursday due to launch a new branch in Ventersdorp, west of Johannesburg, a bastion of white conservatism and home of Eugene Terre'blanche, leader of the neo-Nazi Afrikaner Resistance Army, or AWB.

The group apprehends and assaults alleged criminals before handing them to the police.

The newspaper quoted an unnamed farmer as saying: "I'm a white farmer and most of the criminals are black. If I shoot the black attacker dead on my farm, I would be labelled a racist.

"So why suffer all the humiliation and nightmares thereafter if Mapogo can do the job for me at a fee?"

Mapogo leader John Magolego claimed his organisation has 30 000 members. Justifying his cooperation with right-wing forces, Magolego said a united front was needed to defeat crime. "Criminals are just sick members of society who can be cured for life though corporal punishment," he said.

Magolego said his organisation has opened branches in several towns in five of South Africa's nine provinces.

The sePedi language name of the group means: "If you (the criminal) conduct yourself like a leopard, remember the victim can change into a tiger."

At least 10 of its members are facing various charges, including murder, attempted murder, abduction and assault.

Farmers are involved in various initiatives to deal with the threat of crime, including working with the army and police and employing private security companies. -- AFP



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