Teen Murder: Did Not Have To Happen

2016-05-25 11:01

The murder of a teen beggar in Church Street, Pietermaritzburg, outside a mosque cannot be condoned and did not have to happen. It must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. No religion or cause justifies the killing of innocents. I extend my deepest condolences to the family of the young deceased. (News24, May 23).

The murder is under police investigation and we should allow the police to complete their task and let the court’s decide the outcome. We should not speculate on the murder or unnecessarily cast suspicion on individuals - allow the law to take its course.

When someone, even a beggar, elicits your sympathy for a hand-out at the traffic lights or on the street be polite, dignified, respectful, compassionate and tolerant. A sympathetic word, a smile which doesn’t cost anything or a short prayer, can make a big difference in the life of a less fortunate human being. Whether or not you decide to give money or food always be well–mannered. If we are not in a position to help, we must fulfil our obligations by referring the needy to a shelter or feeding scheme.

To quote from the Quran: “Righteousness is this that one believes in Almighty and the last day and the angels and the Book and the prophets, and gives away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for the emancipation of the captives, and keeps up prayer and pays the compulsory charity (zakat)” (2:177).

There is absolutely no doubt that the greatest concern of the majority of South Africans is crime. South Africa is troubled by a climate of crime that often controls our daily lives. Although not acceptable, frustrated individuals with genuine or trivial grievances seek redress at the trigger of a gun.

What happened in Church Street outside the Mosque can happen again at any other location, with the same deadly outcome. We cannot allow crime to rule our lives and spaces and this scourge of law-breaking and delinquency needs to be confronted and tackled.

Similarly, the recent increased presence of street children high on glue, whoonga or other drugs in the Central Business District (CBD) is definitely dangerous to residents, school going kids and businesses in the area.

Accepted there are many complex reasons, like abject poverty, unemployment or other social issues as to why or how these children or even adults can find themselves without proper housing, food or clothing. It is so sad to see so many children wandering the streets when they should be in school. It is only through education that the cycles of unemployment, poverty and homelessness can be broken.

An urgent high-profile meeting needs to be arranged by the respective stake holders in order to address the root causes of begging or homelessness and issues faced by street children.

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