Vigilantism v. the State: A Case Study of the Rise and Fall of Pagad, 1996–2000

"Pagad began as People Against Gangsterism and Drugs. It ended as Pipe-bombers and Gunmen and Detonators. Pagad evolved rapidly into an organisation with a political power agenda, purging dissenters, intimidating the Muslim establishment, as well as liberal and feminist Muslims, and attacking police, prosecutors and judges. Media photos and videos focused on Pagad’s use of religion as an ideology to mobilise supporters and to legitimate killing. It rarely perceived this organisation as part of the social phenomenon of numerous vigilante groups springing up around the country to combat the worstever crime wave. It is also essential, however, to analyse the dimension of Pagad as one of numerous popular initiatives against South Africa’s worst-ever crime waves. Pagad also challenged the young South African democracy with two difficult tests. First, could the post-apartheid police and prosecutors break Pagad? Second, could the police, prosecutors and judiciary, caught in the upheaval of transformation, suppress its terrorism without detention, torture and other violations of the rule of law, and the Constitution’s Bill of Human Rights?"