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ANC crossroads: Policy conference or public confidence

The ANC's 6th National Policy Conference in Nasrec. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)

The ANC's 6th National Policy Conference in Nasrec. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Aug 1, 2022

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The citizens of South Africa are trapped in a severe crime wave. Criminality is rampant, with mass killings increasing.

Meanwhile, the ANC is sitting in a policy conference debating whether those accused of alleged criminal behaviour should be allowed to stand for leadership in the party.

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Can the disconnect be even more absurd than this?

While our police are supposed to arrest and prosecute alleged criminals, the party entrusted with managing the country's police force holds an entire conference on whether alleged criminals should be allowed to hold power in the party.

The tavern massacres across the country, the Krugersdorp killings and rapes, the multiple failures to prosecute taxi-industry violence and murders in the Western Cape and the illegal zamazama mining industry are all linked to a police force and justice system that have caved in to the demands of a syndicated criminal cabal within its own ranks.

This syndicate is a widely spread organised crime group within the criminal justice system, some operating in police uniforms, who only prosecute those who don’t threaten their multiple illegal revenue streams.

From not rapidly finalising the causes of death from the Enyobeni tavern poisonings to the crisis of the multiple illegal zama zama operations across the mining fields of South Africa to the lost dockets and withdrawn cases, we are facing a crisis within and a near collapse of our criminal justice system.

The scary part of this is the growing levels of impunity with which criminals operate in South Africa. Social media reels on crime in South Africa are of the most watched in the country.

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This week we saw a vehicle owner having to ward off potential hijackers with a knife in a city street, with members of the public walking casually by, ignoring what was happening.

In March 2021 we saw father of four and Wits student Mthokozi Ntumba shot and killed by police. The police were acquitted of murder in his case.

South Africans are living without the protection of the police.

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While roughly R2 billion is spent annually on the protection of ministers and other senior politicians – which equates to roughly R8 million annually per politician and senior politician – South Africans beset by crime are left without police stations, patrol vans and with calls to police stations going unanswered.

We have a travelling police minister whose claim to fame is not solving crime but shouting people down who call him out on his lack of performance. His circus-like antics will be all that he will be remembered for.

The president can't act against him because the president needs the KZN ANC vote to secure his second presidential term. So while the citizen body count grows daily, political self-interest keeps an incompetent man in office as the head of our police.

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We are destroyed by impunity, inertia, and rampant illegal activity. No one in power does anything to stop it. For, in addition to the political self-interests, the criminal revenue streams to corrupt persons in the criminal justice system are far more lucrative than the salaries they earn.

From cops on the beat to detectives investigating crime and prosecutors, all are subject to people offering them money and other resources to lose dockets, investigate poorly, and create platforms for not guilty findings.

From the lack of prosecutions in the 2021 Durban insurrection cases to the accommodation of violence as acceptable political behaviour in Parliament to the failure to act against drug houses and public violence, we have descended into an abyss of criminality. Our criminal justice system only prosecutes those who threaten their revenue streams, not criminals who threaten the public safety. And good cops are being tainted.

The burden of public safety cannot rest on the shoulders of the public. It must rest on the shoulders of the state. The ANC Policy Conference would be wise to heed the gatvol mood in the country.

* Lorenzo A Davids.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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