South Africa has one of the highest murder rates in the world, according to the latest figures from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. There were more than 27,000 murders last year; that amounts to 45 people per 100,000. For comparison, the US rate is six per 100,000.

In the face of this, Mr Rapelego says the only way to keep their families safe is for volunteers to patrol the communities themselves, even if it means risking their own lives as “Diepsloot is in the hands of the criminals”.

The team of volunteers works closely with the municipal police.

It is an unofficial arrangement, as some of what they do is not legally sanctioned. No-one is paid and they do not carry guns. But they do have a sjambok, a traditional leather whip.

“We’re doing stop and search and if you are a criminal and you are not going to comply with us, the sjambok will apply also to you,” says Mr Rapelego.

The volunteers do not have the legal authority to carry out stop-and-search operations, nevertheless the team goes street by street questioning anyone who is out late.

As they walk past a shop, the owner says he has just been mugged. The volunteers manage to grab hold of a man seen running away and search him for the missing phones and money.

They whip him with the sjambok, which in itself is seen as a crime. There is no evidence he has done anything wrong, so they let him go.

When challenged on what right they have to do this, Mr Rapelego defends the use of force, saying: “Remember, Diepsloot is our place and if we don’t fix our Diepsloot, no-one will fix this Diepsloot.”

South Africa’s crime statistics show murder victims are overwhelmingly young black men, and the volunteers also place themselves at risk.

Two years ago, 21-year-old Alpha Rikhotso was shot and killed while out on patrol.

“I’m trying to accept the situation but it’s still painful,” says his father, David Rikhotso.

“He was trying to protect his life, my life and everyone. He was fighting against crime.”