A VICTIM OF A BIAS CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
SOCIAL media went into overdrive this week as usual, with visuals of a convicted murderer and victim of abuse, Martha Marumo, who pulled up her skirt in front of the audience, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, at the National Gender Summit to show the horrible scars inflicted by the husband she killed.
Not a pretty sight, but that is precisely the point that Marumo was trying to illustrate – that women go through hell at the hands of abusive men. As much as the Gender Summit this week was meant to highlight issues affecting women, especially genderbased violence including murders and rapes, Marumo also shone a spotlight on the parole system that seems to have long been corrupted.
We have written stories about prisoners who were in the throes of death, suffering from terminal illnesses, and yet parole boards wouldn’t release them to die at home.
Yet the famous, politically connected and those with deep pockets cheat the system and go free.
In my view Marumo, whose scars shocked everyone, exposed a criminal-justice system that was not prowomen and pro-poor.
And Marumo is a typical example of its bias. She bears scars from the abuse and violence she endured at the hands of her husband but that don’t seem to warrant her name being on the list of inmates who deserve early release from prison. Why?
I have a personal interest in the matter, because the man who murdered my sister in cold blood was recently granted parole without the input and involvement of our family, and even from members of the community who helped get him arrested and convicted.
What is even worse is that when he shot and killed my sister, he was on parole for other violent crimes.
And now he has been paroled again, and none of my family or her children have been warned that he is out there. Correctional Services says we should have been informed first, although we would not have been able to stop his release, as the board made its decision, it pointed out.
So who are these board members? Do they belong to the society we live in? If people who murder in cold blood are freed without so much as a consideration for the safety and security of their victims’ families, why not release someone like Marumo, who killed in self-defence?