Sanc­tity of hu­man life means lit­tle to crim­i­nals

Sunday Tribune - - NEWS&VIEWS -

IN THE lives of many, a defin­ing mo­ment ar­rives. It sneaks up be­cause you’re not ex­pect­ing it. That’s what hap­pened to the fam­i­lies of hi­jack­ing vic­tims Sa­dia Sukhraj, 9, and fa­ther-of-two Kelly Chetty.

You never know sor­row or pain un­til such a per­sonal en­counter. If you are read­ing this, how would you feel if Sa­dia 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 with your fam­ily 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 black parolees bragged about how they mur­der and rob for a liv­ing. They said that 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, which is be­sieged by hard-core crim­i­nals who are hold­ing the coun­try hostage. These cal­lous killers crave in­still­ing fear and me­nace, punc­tu­ated by long pe­ri­ods of plan­ning and hid­ing, spurred on by the high they will get from their next hit.

Pre­dictable larce­nies that feed a life of ad­dic­tion con­tinue un­abated. So, too, do farm mur­ders and pat­ri­cide. Here, I’m think­ing of Henri van Breda. What kind of beast carves his fam­ily up like a hol­i­day roast?

With a gen­eral elec­tion com­ing up, it is the sea­son for po­lit­i­cal as­sas­si­na­tions. Hos­tels have be­come breed­ing grounds for death and cash-in-tran­sit heists have gained pop­u­lar­ity.

These crim­i­nal el­e­ments are en­e­mies of God – re­spon­si­ble for the most un­nat­u­ral, abom­inable acts ever con­ceived.

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.

If you are lucky, you get to live an­other day.

Our gov­ern­ment is help­less, their si­lence deaf­en­ing.

Our politi­cians con­tinue to dis­trib­ute mean­ing­less re­as­sur­ances, like cheap boiled 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 rub­ber bul­lets and tear gas 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 in­cor­ri­gi­ble 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 wa­ter-tight 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 the ar­rest of a crim­i­nal 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 sift­ing out leads where the po­lice have failed.

Above all, 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.

While many will say that un­timely deaths are just a case of be­ing in the wrong place at the wrong time or part of God’s plans, we all need to be vig­i­lant or we, too, could soon be cool­ing off in a coroner’s fridge.

While we work to make the world what we want, we have to deal with the world as it is.

KEVIN GOVEN­DER

Shall­cross

PIC­TURE: BON­GANI SHILUBANE/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

Na­tional com­mis­sioner Gen­eral Khehla Sit­hole and Po­lice Min­is­ter Bheki Cele brief me­dia at Tsh­wane Po­lice Academy this week on plans to ad­dress se­ri­ous crime coun­try­wide.

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