Marianne Thamm

Coming to get you

2007-07-12 08:31

Marianne Thamm

Dina Rodrigues; Shavaan Marlie and Clinton Davids; Ruan Pieter Martiz, Dewald Herman Smith and Garth Montague-Fryer; Donovan Moodley; Thembisile Nondzaba.

That's just a very, very short roll call of the perpetrators, some more infamous than others, who have recently been called to account for murder. And there are many, many more.

To refresh your memories, here is a list of their victims: Baby Jordan Leigh Norton; Brett Goldin and Richard Bloom; Johannes Thomas; Leigh Matthews; Nonceba Mzondo (saxophonist McCoy Mrubata's teenage daughter).

Here also, for your edification, are the details concerning the case of lesser-known victim Johannes Thomas. Thomas was an unemployed, homeless bricklayer who was kicked and beaten to death by Ruan Pieter Maritz (21), Dewald Herman Smith and Garth Montague-Fryer (both 20) as he lay sleeping in the grounds of a NG church in Cape Town.

After a drunken night out the boys, all from supposedly God-fearing, decent homes, decided to rid the area of "vagrants". They found Thomas and his friend Rosie Plaaitjies sleeping in the churchyard on the night of April 19 2004 and beat the living daylights out of him.

The court heard evidence that the men had "kicked his head like a soccer ball" before leaving and then returning again later to continue the assault. The killers have all been found guilty of culpable homicide and will be sentenced in September.

Not getting away with it

There are other high profile cases: Mulalo Sivhidzo, wife of the Avhatakali Netshisaulu, son of City Press editor Mathatha Tsedu, who is accused of hiring an assassin to hijack and murder her husband. His body was found in the burnt out wreck of his car in December 2006. She is still to stand trial as is Kgomotso Tladi, accused of hiring killers to murder her pharmacist husband, Andrew Tladi in 2004.

Tladi faces charges and kidnapping and murder along with co-conspirators Eva Sithole, Gilbert Makhubela and Samson Mogalaka.

Then there are the shocking revelations made by the investigating officer in Najwa Petersen's bail hearing ongoing at the Wynberg Magistrate's court. Najwa was arrested on suspicion that she ordered the murder of her husband, musician Taliep Petersen.

Over and the above all the blood sports there's the fraud and corruption from the Brett Kebble sage to the ongoing Fidentia saga and Shabir Shaik's conviction.

Stupid mamparas?

One thing all the killers, alleged killers and fraudsters have in common is that they must have believed they could get away with their crimes. Somewhere at the back of their deluded minds they must have thought that members of the South African Police are all a bunch of mamparas sitting in their charge offices eating Kentucky Fried Chicken while watching The Bold and the Beautiful.

And when the cops arrive and embark on even the most preliminary of investigations where evidence clearly points to the suspect, they (the suspect) think they can just lie to the court believing no doubt that every official there too is stupid.

"Wasn't me", "I wasn't there", "I was framed" or just simply reiterating "I didn't do it" they keep saying.

I have no doubt that the bulk of this country's criminals - and I include here people speeding down highways illegally speaking on their cell phones - are of the opinion that we live in a lawless, chaotic, hell hole.

Of course the delusion is fabulously shattered when the criminal finds him/herself behind bars in which case he/she begins to complain of "depression" or becomes "suicidal" because the reality in their heads in no way matches the reality they find themselves caught up in.

Crime levels are unacceptably high in this country. Period. But to assume that no one cares and that no one is doing anything about it is well, just plain, delusional. That's how you end up in trouble.

The proof is the long, long list of people, rich, poor, famous, unknown who have been successfully tracked, arrested and prosecuted for their crimes.

We are nowhere near solving this particularly complex and worrying phenomenon but all it not lost.

Send your comments to Marianne.

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