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We can meaningfully contribute to our safety

I never thought, for once, that intelligent people, especially lawyers, could publicly endorse mob justice. 

But lo and behold, that is where we are. We have degenerated as a nation to a point where we think medieval savagery is a solution to modern day socio-economic problems. Of course politicians don’t care, so long as public anger is not towards them. They are happy that the police, the judiciary and defence lawyers are being roasted for our unsafe streets and homes. But we know the police, the judiciary and defence lawyers are scapegoats.

It is our communities that produce these thugs by their thousands. Sorry, the blame is on society. Our judiciary is overwhelmed with criminal cases, and we blame it for the mess. We are creating thugs at a faster rate than even the police can deal with. The whole system is a mess. Other than blame these institutions, the blame should be on us for producing these thugs at the rate we are producing them.

Many of us have been home over the past month. We are back at or work stations to continue with our socio-economic struggles and to moan about safety. But how many of us ever really took time off from complaining to ask themselves how they could make a difference to their decaying villages. No politician is going to develop your village.

Sometimes I don’t blame them, really. Political office is that high paying job where you don’t really need to do anything tangible. You just need to be a good mobiliser or womaniser to work your constituency and bingo; you are in Parliament.

Even if you chance to be the odd case with genuine intentions, you can shout your voice hoarse in the parliamentary chamber and I guarantee that you won’t change the National Development Plan in favour of your constituents. If you are an opposition member, the ruling party government will not finance your constituency problems in order that you look bad. If you are a ruling party representative, you will only have your constituency internal roads resurfaced in the latter months of year 2024 because your constituency is important for power retention.

My point is that it is for us villagers to help lift our villages up. It is for those of us who have had the benefit of not so indecent jobs to see where we can lend a helping hand to our struggling communities and to those less lucky. We should not leave our villages behind.

The festive season was not just a time to relax but to take stock and to introspect on what we can do for our communities. Of course, in the process, you are going to come across an angry ward

councillor of parliamentarian who thinks you want to take “his” constituency, but who really cares. Well, it was someone else’s constituency before it was his. So, just tell them to take a hike. We can be agents of the safety we so much crave for. We can help bring about the public safety we so desire.

Just the other day, I heard that a crime suspect had been killed by a criminal mob in Mogoditshane. He was, I am told, virtually lynched. As can be expected, officious bystanders were up in arms against the justice system as if the justice system has failed some parenting obligation. Bad children are produced by society, not magistrates. And, certainly not by the police.  And I do not say that the two departments have no responsibility; No. These thugs are produced by us, their elder brothers and sisters who live good lives and have abandoned then to abject poverty and consider them incompatible with our grand good living plans. They are a product of bad, well off uncles who simply couldn’t be bothered. Societal maladies are there in part because the possible role models, supporters and mentors to these young people have abandoned them and society has become so selfish.

If each one of us can spare just a little out of our lack to help them, to get them off the streets, to ensure that that kid who dropped out of school due to pregnancy or deviant behaviour and has since learnt their lesson has a chance of recovery, we can come close to a better society in which we can all feel secure.

Of course, it need not be your relative. It just needs to be someone out there who has potential. I do believe strongly that charity begins at home. I also believe that it must not end there. Sometimes all it takes is to talk to a teacher and ask if he or she can identify some child you can help.

Sometimes it is all about spending as little as P300 on that child a month to ensure that they are well clothed and have adequate school supplies. When you do, involve your children, because that is a legacy to be passed on. Our children too must learn kindness if we are to have a continuing cycle of love and end the violence.

That way, we can fight crime in our own little ways and we would not seek to regress to medieval barbarity. Let us channel our legitimate anger to corrective action, and not murder. And lets acknowledge our role in the mess and fix ourselves.

Chief On Friday



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