PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma must apologise to the nation and retract his clumsy and unpresidential statements encouraging police to shoot to kill. The blood of three-year-old Atlegang Aphane is on his hands.
Cosatu chief Zwelinzima Vavi also bears responsibility. Unfortunately the Aphane case is not an exception. During a protest march in Mogale City last year Azapo members were threatened by a drunken, shotgun-wielding policeman.
While relaxing in a shower of praise from the tri-partite alliance, Zuma appears to be losing touch with reality as far as crime is concerned. It is an ominous sign of the future for Zuma to critically misdiagnose the problem. The police are faced with a lack of focus, corruption and a tendency to push a political agenda.
A clear example of this is the recent harassment of Joburg Metro Police chief Chris Ngcobo by Samwu members, no longer content with overturning dustbins and scattering rubbish. The pressing need to end crime does not justify police brutality.
The government should help the needy instead of criminalising poverty. Law enforcement should not be misused to evict residents of informal settlements and destroy their shacks.
Rather than focusing on the most serious manifestations of crime, our courts jail people for stealing a loaf of bread.
The fault is a criminal justice system and Roman-Dutch law that were tailored over 400 years to persecute black people. The jails are full of petty criminals, while murderers have won full immunity from prosecution, even after confessing their crime.
The promotion of reconciliation ahead of justice by Desmond Tutu, Jonathan Jansen and Nelson Mandela means that there is no moral foundation to our justice system.
Samore Herbstein, Azapo Gauteng chairperson, Edenvale