South Africa: ‘Our kids are dying, however President Ramaphosa does not care’

Poster saying 'bring back to the death penalty'Image copyright Getty Images

In our collection of letters from African journalists, South African filmmaker and author Serusha Govender studies on the rising anger fuelled by a spate of kid murders.

Passing by Cape Town’s Parliament Square earlier this month, I caught sight of Fadiel Adams camped outdoors on the ultimate days of a starvation strike.

This was a father making a determined stand towards what he felt was the federal government’s lack of curiosity in combating the latest spate of kid murders within the Western Cape province.

The youngster homicide fee has been excessive for a while in South Africa, however for the reason that starting of the yr, a number of killings near Cape Town have drawn nationwide fury and requires fast motion.

The homicide of seven-year-old Tazne van Wyk in early February was the spark.

Fadiel Adams

Sakeena Frenchman

If we now have to close down this complete metropolis to make our level subsequent time then we are going to”

Tazne went missing on 7 February. Her body was found two weeks later after her suspected murderer led police to the storm drain where he said he had disposed of it.

The suspect, a violent multiple offender had been released on parole. He was in prison for the kidnapping and murder of another child.

Mr Adams ended his hunger strike after six days, once he had handed a memorandum to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s secretary, but his campaign is far from over.

‘We are dying here’

He is not convinced that the president will do anything. He accused the president of not caring, adding that “this authorities has failed all of us”.

“We are dying right here, our kids are dying,” said Mr Adams.

“If Ramaphosa actually cared he would have made a direct directive… I do not condone violence or burning issues, however we can’t cease elevating this [issue]. If we now have to close down this complete metropolis to make our level subsequent time then we are going to.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption In February, President Ramaphosa tried to reassure the angry crowd in Elsies River

After Tazne’s body was found, Mr Ramaphosa visited her community in Elsies River and apologised.

He said that the accused should never have been given parole, adding that he knew how the community felt and that urgent action would be taken.

His words were reminiscent of his speech to protesting crowds outside parliament after a 19-year-old student, Uyinene Mrwetyana, was murdered by a postal worker last year.

This triggered nationwide protests against the high levels of violence against women and children, which in turn prompted the president to promise immediate targeted action.

Then, too, Mr Ramaphosa told the crowds that this should never have happened, that he would take action, and that he knew how they felt.

But following Tazne’s killing, his audience had had enough of platitudes, with many saying that they wanted less smooth-talking and more real action being taken to keep their children safe.

Child murders in South Africa

And they are right to be concerned as Cape Town does seem to have a high number of child murders, and it appears to be getting worse.

Crime statistics released last year showed that four children are murdered every week in the Western Cape Province alone and, overall, child murders have increased across the country by almost 30% over a decade.

On the same day that Tazne went missing, seven-year-old Reagan Gertse disappeared. His body was discovered on a farm in the Western Cape a week later. The man accused of killing Reagan was also a violent criminal released on parole.

Serusha Govender

Serusha Govender

The authorities shouldn’t be too shocked when affected communities lose religion and lash out”

And there have been different circumstances of individuals on parole committing homicide.

When the president guarantees to repair the issue by pouring extra money right into a felony justice system that’s releasing violent criminals into communities with none warning, the federal government shouldn’t be too shocked when these communities lose religion and lash out.

When the person accused of killing Tazne appeared in courtroom, group members revolted. They tried to storm the courtroom constructing and, when that failed, they torched close by buildings they stated have been frequented by neighbourhood criminals, together with the accused.

Community Activist Mr Adams stated that no-one needed to mete out vigilante justice.

“To be honest their reaction was mild in comparison to the violence this community has already faced… How else did you expect them to express their anger and frustration at what’s been happening?” he requested.

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Albert Frtiz, the politician in control of group security within the Western Cape, acknowledges that the felony justice system has failed its residents, and the parole system faces profound points.

At the nationwide degree, Justice Minister Ronald Lomola has defended parole, saying that the general public launched are reintegrated safely again into society.

While he admitted that there have been flaws within the system, he stated it was not completely damaged.

Perhaps the extent of kid homicide right here is symptomatic of a a lot deeper malaise and arguing over the parole problem is lacking the larger level.

But what is definite is that there are too many kids dying right here and the federal government just isn’t doing sufficient to guard them.

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