Editorials 27.7.2016 05:30 am

Krejcir shows how easily corruption comes

Radovan Krejcir at the Germiston Magistrates' Court. Picture: Neil McCartney

Radovan Krejcir at the Germiston Magistrates' Court. Picture: Neil McCartney

The details around Krejcir’s prison escape attempt once again shine a light on corrupt officials.

The authorities spend a fortune to fight crime and keep dangerous criminals behind bars where they belong. But in spite of the huge resources being channelled into anti-crime initiatives, many South Africans still don’t feel safe in their homes because of the high levels of crime.

Surely we still have a long way to go before our streets are safe for all. It is of huge concern that a few rotten apples within the criminal justice system, largely motivated by greed, betray efforts to defeat lawlessness.

A relevant example are the rogue cops and prison officials who have been nabbed and convicted for aiding Czech fugitive and convicted criminal Radovan Krejcir. He is currently serving a lengthy prison term with his accomplices, three of whom were senior officers of the police elite unit, the Hawks. The gangster is facing a string of other serious charges, including murder.

Shortly before being convicted, police top brass had egg on their faces when they were forced to admit publicly that Krejcir had infiltrated the entire criminal justice system, including the Hawks and crime intelligence. This was a chilling reminder of how deeply entrenched corruption is in our law-enforcement agencies.

Now a correctional services official based at Zonderwater prison outside Pretoria, where the gangster is incarcerated, is accused of being part of a plot to break the Czech fugitive out of the facility. The officer is facing multiple charges, including corruption and defeating the ends of justice.

It is alleged the warder was set to facilitate the payment of fellow warders to assist in Krejcir’s escape.

The involvement in criminality by officials whose mandate is to protect citizens and whose salaries are paid by the taxpayer is indicative of the long road this country still has to travel before it can defeat the scourge of crime. Crime has certainly reached crisis proportions when those employed to uphold the law connive with felons to unleash terror on law-abiding citizens.

This is a blatant and scandalous betrayal of the public.

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