Columns 22.3.2018 09:00 am

No good turning a blind eye to criminals

A recipient of mob justice, after being saved by police. Image: supplied

A recipient of mob justice, after being saved by police. Image: supplied

The criminals in the communities are people known in the community. We all know who they are and what they do.

Criminals flourish because we allow them to.

Watching a video that went viral on social media, my blood went cold with fear about where our society is headed.

How did we get here and how do we get back to where sanity, law and order prevails?

I watched a video of residents in Eldorado Park viciously attacking two trolley boys who allegedly tried to kidnap a five-year-old girl.

For the first time in my life, I saw someone desperate to get into a police van, and I saw police officers overwhelmed by a crowd that they were battling to contain.

My sympathy on a human level should not be mistaken for tolerance for any wrongdoing on their part. If they tried to kidnap the girl, they should face the full might of the law.

I have my own views on mob justice, but there is something that always bothers me in the carrying out of this form of justice.

It’s easy for everyone to come out of the woodwork in the confrontation of criminals, but where was this choir when the very same criminals were flourishing in their activities?

The criminals in the communities are people known in the community. We all know who they are and what they do. We all know who to go to when there has been a break-in at the corner café.

Word on the street and the neighbourhood grapevine can give insight into which delinquent might be responsible.

Where was “word on the street” when the BMW spinning interrupted the afternoon’s peace, when gun salutes pierced through song at a local funeral?

Where was word on the street – the judge and jury of the community – when the township air was permeated by the smell of an illegal substance not being used for medicinal purposes?

I’m not saying that we should all become deputies to Bheki Cele, but I just have a desire to understand where the nerve and the bravery comes from to descend on police stations screaming blue murder when we have given these very criminals the space and comfort to operate in our communities.

We are not all going to stop crime, but by turning a blind eye, we are allowing it to flourish.

Kekeletso Nakeli-Dhliwayo

Kekeletso Nakeli-Dhliwayo

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