SAPS, give us hope against lawlessness
The country's crime statistics as announced last week by the SA Police Service left the nation disappointed and horrified. Making the situation worse is the lack of articulation of clear and tangible strategies to beat off the wave of crime - against both individuals and the state.
As if that state of hopelessness was not enough, shocking acts of criminality dominated the news last week following the revelation of the stats - from pupil violence in schools to the destruction of public infrastructure and private property in community protests.
Though police minister Bheki Cele bemoaned the shortage of officers, and the dwindling intelligence capacity, there are cases where police do not really need great numbers to act. The immediate example is the Klerksdorp story, where young women were freed by residents from the yoke of human trafficking and slavery by the .
Locals had to resort to a drastically violent action to deal with a situation police should have been privy to for a long time.
This speaks to the preparedness of the SAPS and its officers to do their work. Police make excuses instead of busting crime, more so in poor communities - hence the increasing cases of mob justice. Hidden in crime statistics is the number of people whofell victim to extrajudicial executions, a mark of shame for a country with no capital punishment in its criminal justice system.
We wonder with exasperation why these lynch mobs are never arrested? We ask the same question about groups destroying public assets because they are angry about one matter or another. In Tembisa, many intersections have lost their traffic lights. They are uprooted every week - including this past weekend - while police watch from a distance with no intention to bust the offenders and initiate court proceedings.
Another case cops watch from a distance is illegal mining known as "zama-zamas". More bodies were collected from these hijacked shafts on the East Rand at the weekend, giving the impression that the police's work as far as "zama-zamas" are concerned is to collect bodies.
If police will not act against looters, vandals and human traffickers, which law of the country are they relying on to turn their backs? SAPS, please give us hope.