Pubdate: Mon, 24 Sep 2007
Source: Cape Argus (South Africa)
Copyright: 2007 Cape Argus.
Author: Leila Samodien


A mob of masked anti-drug vigilantes, armed with pangas and steel
pipes, assaulted at least two people during a march through Mitchells
Plain on Sunday.

Antonio Anthony, 31, and Wayne Cyster, 27, were attacked near their
homes in Tafelsig in the early hours of Sunday morning by members of a
crowd dozens strong.

They claim they had been attacked "out of the blue".

Tafelsig neighbourhood watch head Moosa Daniels said he had seen the
mob, some on foot and others with cars, go from Eastridge into Beacon
Valley and Tafelsig on Sunday.

Anthony said he had been attacked at about 12.30am in front of his
mother's house in Jonkershoek Street, just a few roads away from his
house. "I was dropping off my bicycle at my mother's house when these
people grabbed me and pushed me against the window.

"They started hitting me with something that looked like

"I asked them why they were hitting me but they wouldn't give me a
reason, they just kept on (beating me)," he told the Cape Argus.

He said most of his attackers had been wearing headdresses to cover
their faces.

Anthony, who is married with three young children, denied being
involved with drugs.

Wayne Cyster, who suffered leg, back and head injuries, was assaulted
just minutes after the attack on Anthony.

He admitted he had been standing with friends outside a drug
merchant's house in Mostertshoek Street, where he also lives, when he
heard the crowd approaching.

"I could hear them coming from around the corner because they were

"At first I thought it was the Wonder Boys (gang), so I got on my bike
and tried to get away by riding into Hangklip Street," he said.

"They caught me and almost drove over me with the car to stop me from
getting away.

"They searched me and asked me where my drugs were. When I said I
don't have drugs, they started hitting me with steel pipes."

He said he had been standing outside the merchant's house to buy
cigarettes, not drugs.

Both Anthony and Cyster were taken to the Mitchells Plain day clinic
for treatment after the attack on Sunday morning.

They then went to the police station, where they were given a case
number, but are yet to to lay a charge.

Because no formal charge has been lodged, police spokesperson
Bernadine Steyn could not confirm the incident.

Community leaders are trying to establish whether anyone else was
assaulted during the march.

Daniels said he had confronted the group after Cyster was attacked and
had asked them to leave.

He said they had been hostile towards him.

"They even let off a gunshot and missed somebody. I picked up the
(bullet shell) when they left," he said.

The group fled after Daniels called the police.

A Mitchells Plain community leader, who asked not to be named, said
the Tafelsig community was outraged by the assault on Anthony and Cyster.

"Their strategy was not the way to deal with things like this and the
community is not very happy about it.

"If they continue like this, they could work up a rivalry between them
and the rest of the community."

Anthony's mother, Denise Anthony, said the vigilante group should not
be allowed to get away with it.

"Sometimes our children do things we don't agree with, but that
doesn't give them any right to hit our children.

"How is that supposed to help them? They are sending out a completely
wrong message," she said.

Earlier in 2007, several hundred people went on the rampage in
Lentegeur, torching the houses and cars of suspected drug dealers
after prominent anti-drug campaigner Abduraghman Sydow was gunned down
in the area.

Twelve people were arrested in connection with arson, attending an
illegal gathering and public violence.

Police from neighbouring stations were deployed in Mitchells Plain to
quell the violence.

The officers, including riot police, were forced to fire rubber
bullets and stun grenades in an effort to control the crowd, many of
whom were armed with axes, baseball bats and hammers.
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