Slogans can be dangerous

We hope President Jacob Zuma National and Police Commissioner Bheki Cele will remember the name Olga Kekana the next time they make a bland statement that the police should shoot criminals.

We hope President Jacob Zuma National and Police Commissioner Bheki Cele will remember the name Olga Kekana the next time they make a bland statement that the police should shoot criminals.

Kekana, 29, is the name and face of the folly of using slogans to solve deep-seated problems. She was shot through the heart when the police opened fire on her and three of her unarmed friends whom they mistook for hijackers.

It is cold comfort to her loved ones that the police had noble intentions when they killed her.

Zuma's message to police officers to restrain their trigger-happy ways is welcome but has come too late for the Kekana family.

The young woman's tragic and unnecessary death is a classic reminder that when the only tool in one's toolbox is a hammer, every problem tends to resemble a nail.

It is a poignant warning against making a group of people judges, jury and executioners of those they convict of being criminals.

Despite all our problems we must not allow criminals to pull us into the abyss of their short and brutal lives.

Having learnt this lesson the hard way, the government must immediately desist from dangerous rhetoric and put plans in place for a crime-free society.

One place to start with will be to strengthen crime detection and prevention think tanks. Communities, too, need to put their shoulders to the wheel.

The defeat of crime needs a collaborative effort.

Let Kekana's death be not in vain.

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