A cry from the soul

SOUTH Africa ignores the boy accused of killing Eugène Terre'Blanche at its own peril.

SOUTH Africa ignores the boy accused of killing Eugène Terre'Blanche at its own peril.

For the cry by this juvenile was loud and clear: "Poverty is a fertile ground for crime."

The 15-year-old and Chris Mahlangu allegedly bludgeoned Terre'Blanche, leader of right-wing AWB, to death at his Ventersdorp farmhouse on April 1.

On Wednesday he told the court that compared to life in nearby Tshing township, the jail was like a five-star hotel.

"He told me he was happy for the first time in his life," his lawyer, Zola Majavu, said. "He is sleeping comfortably on a bed and for the first time, again, he is receiving three meals a day."

A telling indictment indeed. It is obvious from the boy's testimony that ours is a country of two extremes - the haves and have-nots.

Life in Tshing is bleak. It is strewn with squatter camps where basics such as water and electricity are scarce.

Most kids hardly have a pair of proper shoes. A decent meal is a rarity for most families.

And many people from this squalid place eke out a so-called living by working for Terre'Blanche's white folks. To white neighbours, the people of Tshing will always be hewers of wood and drawers of water.

That sums up the life of the 15-year-old murder accused. He has never had it so nice in his young life. It has been an unending struggle for food.

This is another sad reminder that the government, and all of us, have a responsibility towards our unfortunate neighbours.

We must seize this chance to take heed of the boy's cry lest we endure a spiralling crime wave.

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