Residents of Kliptown, Soweto have established a committee to deal with gangsterism in their area.
They said that four people had been killed by gangs since Christmas Day and they could not rely on the police to help them.
Last week, an alleged gang member was burned to death in what was believed to have been an act of vigilantism.
He was accused of being part of the DSS gang which had been terrorising the public.
Angry Kliptown residents said that they were living in fear as gangs had taken over the township.
They said they were being attacked daily by gang members.
In one case, a stolen cellphone led to the killing of two young men.
One man has been at the forefront of the fight against gangsterism in the area.
“There have been several cases where they’ve beaten people and killed people as far as I can tell.”
He has accused police of failing them, saying they had no choice but to act.
But the police said that they were aware of the crimes in the area and were dealing with residents’ concerns.
Police spokesperson Hitler Ngwenya: “We are busy investigating those cases. We are hands-on on those complaints.”
SAPS has since increased visibility in the area.