Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
It is yet another story that will make you weep for this tragic country.
Avhatakali Netshisaulu got married this year. He had only recently completed a business administration degree in the UK through the Nelson Mandela Scholarship.
In October he started a new job at Anglo Platinum and in his spare time, he started a business supplying cellphones to agents. The business, according to his friends, was taking off.
The boy was going places and he was a mere 31 years old. In the greater scheme of things, he really was in the morning of his life. He was a baby.
Last week he left his home in Randburg at 8.25pm to meet a business associate.
Fifteen minutes later he called his wife Mulalo in a panic, saying two cars were trying to force him off the road.
His wife Mulalo immediately called the police.
They told her to call the couple's car tracking company to locate her husband's car. The police did not dispatch a police car to look into the matter.
The tracking company could not trace the car and she called the police again, giving them details of where she thought her husband might be. Again, they failed to send out a squad car.
Avhatakali, the son of City Press editor Mathatha Tsedu, was murdered that night. His charred remains were found in the boot of his burnt car, near Nooitgedacht.
What else is lost with this young man's death? His wife has lost a husband, his family a son and a friend.
And the community? He was someone who added value to the lives of those around him. He was creating jobs; he was working hard - even to the extent of leaving his wife at home to make deliveries late at night.
Avhatakali's is not my only tragic tale to relate.
At the beginning of last week we heard how jazzman McCoy Mrubata's 22-year-old daughter Nonceba Mzondo was killed in Gugulethu, Cape Town, last weekend. Brutally murdered, beaten with a blunt object, her eyes gouged out and was left for dead.
Three weeks before her death, her 45-year-old uncle was stabbed to death in the same township.
Hers was another young life snuffed out, another person who could have contributed to our community, only to be savagely taken away from us.
Death comes easy now. We mention Avhatakali and Nonceba because their deaths made national headlines, but they are not the only ones.
Murder is easy in our lovely new South Africa. Senseless death and pain and violence are visited upon the law-abiding, the young and the old, black and white alike. Death and violence are everywhere, a sickness that holds our nation in its grip.
The only people who seem blissfully unaware of this tragic state of events are our leaders.
This year, 2006, while everyone grapples with what to do about this pandemic, President Thabo Mbeki and others still have the audacity to say those who complain about crime are white South Africans.
The crimes perpetrated against the whites are minuscule compared to the number of crimes committed against blacks throughout the country.
It is mostly black women who are raped and beaten. It is black men and women who are hijacked, mugged, robbed and killed.
The Mbeki government does not seem to have a clue about how to go about addressing what is clearly a national crisis.
I nearly laughed when I saw messages of condolence from government ministers to the family of Netshisaulu. The messages were written as though what happened to this family was something out of the ordinary.
It happens every hour and every day in Soweto and Gugulethu, young people being brutally killed. Where are those ministers then?
There are many who call for the death penalty. I still do not believe that this is the answer but I have not the right or inclination to tell the Mzondo and Netshisaulu families how they should think at this moment.
I understand their anger and pain and frustration. I know too that if they went and killed the killers of their children, I would find it hard to blame them.
The state has failed them. The state has failed to provide them with security, and so the state must take responsibility when anarchy prevails.
The solution to this morass is simple. If Mbeki, safety and security minister Charles Nqakula and others stood up and said - we feel your pain and will take concrete measures to end this scourge, then half the fight will have been won.
Instead, we have a president who defends the national police commissioner's friendship with a high-profile criminal. Instead, we have a police minister who says those who complain about crime should leave the country.
The solution is simple and it starts with the president.
But he is a man who listens to one person and one person only: himself. He claims that all other voices are either reactionary or racist. In the meantime, his country weeps.