(Parliamentary debate: The escalation in violent crimes in South Africa and the government’s responsibility to protect its citizens’ live and their property)
Crime in South Africa is out of control, but when the ANC government is confronted with this reality, it tries to shift the focus away from its own inability to combat crime and protect the country's citizens.
According to Section 205(3) of the Constitution, it is the government's duty to protect the lives and property of the country's citizens.
Quite the opposite, however, is happening and the criminal justice system is effectively being undermined by the government, as is evident in the case against the #FeesMustFall activist, Kanya Cekeshe, whose application for appeal against his conviction and sentence of eight years was dismissed.
In this case, Ronald Lamola, the Minister of Justice, said that his Department is assisting Cekeshe with an application for a presidential pardon from President Cyril Ramaphosa. That means that his criminal record will be wiped clean as well. Cekeshe was arrested and sentenced for public violence.
The situation is made much worse by corruption and poor management. Approximately 4000 of the police officers, who are supposed to protect the public, have criminal records themselves.
Statistics show that less than 18% of all reported crimes eventually get to court. That means that criminals' chances of getting away with committing a crime in South Africa are nearly 82%. This is clear proof of the government's inability to fight crime effectively.
In some cases, police officers are unwilling to take action or to respond to victims' complaints. An example is the farmer from KwaZulu Natal, Anton Pitout, who was recently attacked by farm workers after which police officers refused to lodge his complaint.
Over the past year, all seven contact crimes in South Africa increased. When one compares the international murder rate of 7 out of 100 000 people to South Africa's 37 out of 100 000, it is clear that the crime rate in the country has gotten totally out of control. South Africa has become unsafe.
We urgently need solutions. The police force must be empowered to fight and prevent crime and the criminal justice system must be turned around so that criminals can be effectively prosecuted and punished. That means that we must declare war against corruption.
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