Department of Correctional Services officials are now receiving managment training to assist them in coping with the increasing stress of dealing with large volumes of prisoners. A warder at an East London Prison keeps a close eye on prisoners. 241006 Picture: Steve Lawrence

Limpopo Health and Social Development MEC Norman Mabasa has accused the criminal justice system of protecting violent criminals.

Mabasa stopped short of calling for the reinstatement of capital punishment as a deterrent for violent crime.

He was speaking at yesterday’s memorial service for the three children who were stoned to death in Mookgophong.

The bodies of siblings Hosea, 10, and Johanna Kekana, 12, and that of their nine-year-old cousin Bafana Kekana were found in the bush on Saturday.

The girl had been raped before she was killed, according to the police.

No arrest have been made.

The three stayed at the Mantadi Child and Youth Care Centre, after allegations that their parents had neglected them.

Their memorial service at the local community hall was attended by residents - black and white - and politicians. Among the politicians were Mabasa, Education MEC Dickson Masemola and United Democratic Movement deputy president and MP Ntopile Kganyago.

Mabasa said South Africans should hold a summit to discuss alternative punitive measures for violent crime.

“I am not calling for any sentence, I am asking if there is any [other] sentence, but I will not mention that sentence by name.”

He said South Africans lived in fear in their homes and communities because of terror inflicted by criminals.

“We protect animals more than we do human beings,” said Mabasa. He also said criminals enjoyed spending time in SA prisons.

“Criminals enjoy jail. They have rights. They even demand [TVs with] plasma screens and we give it to them,” said Mabasa.

“If he [the perpetrator] is lucky, he can even get degrees while in jail, yet the children are dead,” said Mabasa.

A member of the school governing body at Dikubu Primary School, Elias Senwamadi, urged the government during the memorial service to prioritise the school’s basic needs.

The dead children went missing last week after taking part in a march organised by their school to demand more teachers.

“Give us what we need before we take to the streets,” said Senwamadi.

The DA in Limpopo has blamed the provincial education department for the killing of the three. But Education MEC Masemola said the killing of the three was an act of Satanism.

Local business people have pledged to support the family with the burial.

Avbob Funeral Services’ Cynthia Alimsi said the company would provide three coffins and family cars for the funeral.

“Hen Lize will provide photos and we have Simply Flowers and Vicky’s Flowers as well. Spif chicken will pay for the bus and Sasha’s Restaurant will provide food,” said Alimsi.

She said the three tombstones would be provided by Monument Werke Memorial. The three will be buried tomorrow. A joint funeral service will start at 6am at the local sportsground in Phomolong township, outside Mookgophong.

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The Star