Steps to avoid the coroner’s fridge
IN THE lives of many, a defining moment arrives. It sneaks up because you’re not expecting it and don’t really want it to occur. That’s what happened to the families of hijacking victims Sadia Sukhraj and father-of-two Kelly Chetty.
You never know sorrow or pain until such a personal encounter occurs. If you are reading this, how would you feel now if Sukhraj had been your baby girl or Chetty your doting dad or husband?
It seems the sanctity of human life is no more. Every goodbye to your loved ones could be your last and every meal together your last.
How can we live knowing that when we leave for work in the morning, we may never return?
Recently a clip went viral on social media when two parolees bragged about how they murder and rob for a living. They said if they didn’t get money they would put the baby in the microwave oven and roast it or slice the wife’s throat.
This is today’s South Africa, besieged by hard-core criminals holding the country hostage.
These callous killers relish instilling fear and menace. Predictable larcenies that feed a life of addiction continue unabated. So, do farm murders and patricide.
Here I’m thinking of Henry van Breda. What kind of beast will carve his family up like a holiday roast?
With a general election coming up, it’s the season for political assassinations. Hostels have become breeding grounds for death and cash-in-transit heists have gained popularity.
Violent crime is now a part of our daily lives. About 19 000 people were murdered in South Africa between April 2016 and April 2017. Our government is helpless, its silence deafening. Our politicians continue to distribute meaningless reassurances, like cheap sweets at a children’s party.
The recent mass protest at the Chatsworth police station played out like a mob of French peasants baying for the blood of Marie Antoinette. It seems the will of the people was tested. No amount of tear gas and rubber bullets could kill the spirit of the crowd.
So what are the answers to our problems? Should we increase our efforts at social cohesion to foster racial harmony? Should we revamp the police force with incorruptible and ultra-competent crime investigators?
Maybe we should engage a healthier reward system for the vigilante public – a vital source of information. How about a watertight witness protection programme with all the perks of a new life?
Bail and parole should never be granted to repeat offenders. Police Minister Bheki Cele recently openly lamented that a criminal arrested had been granted bail 41 times.
Maybe more power should be delegated to private security companies. Prem Balaram’s Rusa has the knack of arriving at crime scenes before the SAPS. The role of bona fide private investigators should be recognised. Durban’s Brad Nathanson seems to be achieving much success in this field, often where the police have failed.
Foreigners seeking asylum and work here must be stringently vetted, including criminal profiling.
Last but not least, bring back the death penalty for rape and murder. It would go a long way towards serving as a deterrent and would bring closure to bereaved families.
We all need to be vigilant or we, too, could soon be cooling off in a coroner’s fridge.
Atul Gupta. The writer says the judiciary overruled public interest when the Gupta accounts were unfrozen.