Some South African laws favour criminals over victims: Bheki Cele

Some South African laws favour criminals over victims: Bheki Cele

Police Minister Bheki Cele says some of South Africa’s laws need to be reviewed because they favour criminals and not victims.

He was addressing thousands of mourners at the funeral of anti-crime activist Sipho Mthethwa in Manguzi in Northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Mthethwa was the chairperson of the Mhlabauyalingana Society Against Crime. He was gunned down last week outside his home.

Cele says that in two weeks’ time, the security cluster is expected to visit the area.

“There is something that we need to fix, our law in South Africa is wrong. I’m telling you the killer, as we are going to catch the killer, is going to jail. They will have access to hot baths, have three meals a day and get the best medication. Somewhere, somehow our laws are more sympathetic to perpetrators and criminals rather than the victims. We will have to work on it,” says Cele.

Community members in Manguzi say Juda Mthethwa was killed for his stance on fighting crime. Some have expressed doubt that the high level of crime in the Northern parts of the province, especially the hijackings, will ever be curbed.

Community member Mfana Ngubane who worked with Mthethwa in the local crime-fighting structures says, “We are very shocked by the brutal killing of Juda. The incident has also angered the community to the extent that they want to take the law into their own hands.”

“We have also lost hope that the crime of hijackings in this area will ever be stopped. The killing of Juda left us helpless, we are forced to pin our hopes on government,” adds Ngubane.

The Mthethwa family wants justice. Mthethwa’s brother, Shadrack, says they are pinning their hopes on police to arrest those responsible for his death.

“The manner in which our brother was killed is painful.  He was shot several times. As a family, we are still scared and we are living in fear. As his brothers, what we need from government is closure. We are glad that Police Minister Bheki Cele is here and he can also hear that the family wants closure. We want the police to work tirelessly to find those responsible and be sentenced,” Shadrack added.

Others who worked closely with Mthethwa in fighting crime, echo the same sentiment in the Manguzi community, that they feel government has failed them.

Doctor Zwelakhe Qwabe says that the security forces need to include the International Relations department and Home Affairs in their investigation into Mthethwa’s death.

He says, “These criminals are known by the police, we know that they did this and jumped into Mozambique. If there was a will to do justice, they will talk to their counterparts and have those criminals repatriated to South Africa to face justice but there is no political will. There is no seriousness about restoring the dignity of our people, our home.”

The KwaZulu-Natal government has committed to allocating R10 million from each of the departments to assist the police force with much-needed resources.

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