Guest Column

It appears criminals have more freedom

2017-03-26 06:34
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Muano Liphadzi

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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