Cit­i­zens who are not crim­i­nals still go to bed with­out de­cent meals and free ed­u­ca­tion – un­like pris­on­ers, writes

CityPress - - Voices -

Although it is not good to point fin­gers at spe­cific peo­ple or our in­sti­tu­tions, it is tempt­ing at times to do so. Who should be blamed for all the crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity tak­ing place in our coun­try? Is it the po­lice we should blame or our ju­di­cial sys­tem, which, at times, hands out harsh sen­tences but fails to re­strict the rights of those who have com­mit­ted of­fences? Well, it is hard to de­cide.

It still sad­dens me to know that there are pa­tri­otic South Africans who re­frain from com­mit­ting crim­i­nal acts but still go to bed with­out de­cent meals, free ed­u­ca­tion and free en­ter­tain­ment – as those who are in prison do. I sup­pose this is what democ­racy is all about.

As con­cerned cit­i­zens, we are sup­posed to be en­joy­ing that which we have worked hard for – the homes that took us many years to build and the cars we spent our hard-earned money on – but then some­one bur­gles our houses and takes our cars by force, some­times even killing for some­thing that does not be­long them.

No one is safe any more, in­clud­ing the Of­fice of the Chief Jus­tice, which over­sees the pro­tec­tion of our hu­man rights – in­clud­ing those of thieves, mur­der­ers and rapists, who show no re­spect for the ju­di­ciary.

Peo­ple are in­vest­ing in ex­pen­sive se­cu­rity sys­tems just to pro­tect their fam­i­lies and their be­long­ings. But what about those who can­not af­ford those se­cu­rity sys­tems? Should they be al­lowed to be vic­timised by th­ese crim­i­nals?

Does chap­ter 2 of the Con­sti­tu­tion of South Africa, which con­tains the Bill of Rights, re­ally pro­tect even the poor? All th­ese ques­tions are just a de­bate for another day.

In dif­fer­ent parts of South Africa, com­mu­nity mem­bers have de­cided that mob jus­tice seems to be the only way to deal with crim­i­nals. A custom of stoning and burn­ing of­fend­ers is ap­par­ent in dif­fer­ent so­ci­eties and, at the same time, it gives peo­ple some longed-for re­lief.

How­ever, this is not the way to deal with such bar­baric be­hav­iour. In my mind, the bib­li­cal words “let him who is with­out sin cast the first stone” give me a clear in­di­ca­tion that com­mu­nity mem­bers can do much bet­ter than that.

Crim­i­nals need to be re­ha­bil­i­tated be­cause ev­ery­one de­serves a sec­ond chance, and of­fend­ers must some­how be made to un­der­stand that their vic­tims do not en­joy be­ing vic­timised.

It is painful to be born and raised in a bro­ken so­ci­ety in which there is lit­tle hope. Crime statis­tics seem to be ris­ing ev­ery day, with ever more cases of rape, armed rob­bery, drug abuse and dis­tri­bu­tion, house­break­ing and cash heists be­ing re­ported.

Work­ing is hard for ev­ery­one and of­fend­ers must start mak­ing an hon­est liv­ing. Fam­i­lies have lost ev­ery­thing be­cause of crime. I would like to plead with gov­ern­ment to im­ple­ment ef­fec­tive and strate­gic ways to com­bat this scourge.

Liphadzi is an un­em­ployed grad­u­ate

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