Vigilantism in South Africa

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The public murder of Rashaad Staggie - a notorious gang leader in Cape Town - by members of PAGAD (people Against Gangsterism and Drugs), and the stoning to death of a driver who had accidentally run over a two-year-old boy by an angry crowd in a township, are but two recent examples of vigilantism in South Africa. These examples do not, however, signal the emergence of a new or recent phenomenon. Rather, vigilantism, the taking of the law into one's own hands can be seen to have existed in a variety of forms throughout the twentieth century. This article examines the changing nature of vigilante activity in South Africa and suggests possible explanations for the continued existence of the phenomenon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-62
Number of pages16
JournalLow Intensity Conflict and Law Enforcement
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Informal justice
  • South Africa
  • vigilantism


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