The life of the homeless while others make their way to work. This homeless man sleeps opposite the Castle in Cape Town. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency
The life of the homeless while others make their way to work. This homeless man sleeps opposite the Castle in Cape Town. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency

Danny's Diary: Corruption and complacency in society

By Danny Oosthuizen Time of article published Jun 4, 2019

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There comes a time where we need to stop what we’re busy with and ask ourselves if we really practice what we preach. Do we uphold our religious beliefs? Our customs and traditions?

Are we law-abiding citizens? Do we understand the contents of our Constitution. Do we allow others to enjoy the same freedom and space as we require, or at times demand? We’ve lost the sense of togetherness. We seldom push towards the same goal. We criticise and victimise those who stand trial for a crime before they even go to court. At times the punishment the guilty receive does not make sense to us at all.

Let’s face it, society is corrupt. It starts very innocently the day we take a pen and glue for our kids to use at school from the office we work in. We gladly paid a bribe so we could avoid the traffic fine. We paid a little extra to avoid standing in that long queue at Home Affairs. Don’t even ask about the driving licence

Could this be the reason why we are not really up in arms over the corruption in our political arena?

People going to one inquiry after another yet nobody seems to end up behind bars. We now sit back and expect our president to save the nation from unemployment, etc, while we have not done our bit to rid our immediate environment from theft and corruption.

Funds allocated to the poor are spent, but never have they been consulted on what they really need. Underspending of allocated budgets for certain projects is rife.

Our jails are past capacity and the conditions ire. We were recently made aware in news reports of how many are awaiting trial for months, wasting away and families suffering. People caught for minor crimes will wait months for a court date.

To lock up a person who was found in possession of a small amount of drugs makes no sense. Violent criminals who murder, rape, etc, should be locked up.

It took homeless people in Tshwane to push all the way to court (and win the case) over their removal from private property for loitering which put an end to the practise. We fear victimisation and therefore very little cases gets reported.

It is funny how a 17-year-old guy can find a drug dealer, yet the police never seem to arrest the dealers.

Homeless people are not stats. Around the end of each month, many people get arrested for “crime” so the stats at the end of the day can be impressive. Many don’t even get convicted. Can we really call an 18-year-old caught with weed for his own consumption a criminal?

It is the poor who see the inside of a jail cell. If you have the money your lawyer can get you off. So really no “justice” is done.

In this city it is not what you know but who you know.

* Danny Oosthuizen is the ambassador of #TheDignityProject. In his weekly column for the Cape Argus he tackles the struggles homeless people face. Connect with Danny on Facebook and on Twitter @masekind3213 or via email: [email protected]

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

Cape Argus

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