Time to stand up to these criminals and take back our streets

Rozario Brown, Eastridge

Allow me to use this opportunity to express my utter shock and dismay at the murder of well-known businessman and owner of Premium Sports Bar in Westridge, Mitchell’s Plain, Calvin Goliath, also known as Kabollie (“Sports bar owner shot dead,” Plainsman, May 25).

Mr Goliath is the latest in a string of innocent people to be brutally murdered. My appeal to the political leadership and the heads of our various law enforcement agencies in the Western Cape is simple: “Please deal with these killings”. Too many innocent people are losing their lives. Law-abiding citizens and legitimate business people can’t go about their daily routines without the fear of being robbed and murdered while conducting their everyday lives. This is not how we should live our lives. This is certainly not what democracy is about. It is a farce.

Those behind these senseless killings are living a very normal life, because they appear to be in control and in charge.

Why should our people on the Cape Flats feel less safe in their homes than those living in the suburbs? There is something drastically wrong here.

We need much better crime intelligence-gathering capabilities at local police station levels and better rewards to be offered to law-abiding citizens with information about criminals and their activities.

Community members cannot be expected to come forward with vital information without the comfort of knowing that their identities will be protected. Corrupt police officials must be sent to the gallows. Life imprisonment for those corrupt police officers found guilty of criminal activities is too light a sentence. They put the lives of hard-working, loyal and committed police officers at risk, they put the lives of law-abiding and crucial police informants at risk and, quite frankly, they put our freedom and democracy at risk. We need to treat corrupt police officers worse than we treat enemies of the state or terrorists, because these criminals threaten our very way of life.

Our law enforcement agencies, including the police, the Hawks, state security and all other agencies tasked with ensuring the safety of our citizens, must be more pro-active in the fight against violent crimes and drug trafficking. We need to be sure that those tasked with ensuring the safety of our people and our country are not involved with the crimes and criminals they should be tracking down.

We need independent bodies consisting of civilians, politicians and crime fighting experts, to investigate serious complaints against law enforcement agencies and officers, because the future of this country appears to be at stake.

We can no longer sit back and tolerate these senseless and brutal killings, especially here on the Cape Flats. We know who the culprits are. The media writes about some of these key figures all the time. Some of these criminals have been around for decades. How on earth it is possible for any police officer to even suggest that they do not have the information?

If the Criminal Procedures Act is making it impossible to convict these known criminals then Parliament should amend the act to enable to courts and the police to do their work.

Failing this, we can only draw the conclusion that it is not in these politicians’ interest to deal with the crime and drug problem facing our people.

Magistrates and judges should also consider not granting bail so easily in cases involving violent crimes. Some of these criminals are picked up in the morning and are out at night. How on earth is it possible?

Too many magistrates come to work at courts within our communities with very little or no appreciation for what our people are going through daily.

We should not be afraid to look into these magistrates and their actions.

We can no longer be quiet about magistrates granting easy bail in serious cases involving rape, murder and drugs. We need to understand why these criminals are being treated with kid gloves. I know that we have some of the most hard working, loyal and committed legal brains sitting on the bench and in our magistrate courts.

However, we need to look at the minority of these judicial officers who have built themselves a reputation for taking questionable decisions.

We need strong and bold presiding officers in our courtrooms with impeccable credentials and with their integrity intact, to stand up against these criminals and influential people threatening our way of life.

We have reached a point where we need to be bold, less politically correct and brutally honest in the fight against crime and violence. This is the one domain where we should be saying: “You are either with us or against us.”

I urge all our law abiding citizens, law enforcement agencies and officers, judicial officers and those who have had enough of the high rate of crime in our country, especially here on the Cape Flats to get emotional, get angry, get involved, speak out and join the fight. We are still in the majority. Do not wait until it is your son, your daughter, your father and your mother, your brother or sister, until you condemn these senseless killings of innocent people. Unite! Rise up!

Allow yourself to be counted and let the killing of this hard working and patriotic South African, Calvin Goliath, not be in vain.

Let Mr Goliath’s murder be a turning point in our community, because we can rest assured that with each and every murder taking place in our communities on the Cape Flats a businessman or businesswoman is saying, “Enough is enough”. These business people have options: they can take their business elsewhere where the risk of their lives being taken appears to be lower. With every business person withdrawing from our community it represents a great loss in terms of local employment opportunities. Less jobs represents more crime and more drugs.

I am not a politician running for council or anything else. I have no agenda. I don’t drive into Mitchell’s Plain every morning to come and work here or make money here and leave in the afternoon again. I live here. I am passionate about this community, but anyone suggesting that things are not as bad and as hopeless as I am suggesting here, must be hooked on some cheap form of tik or other drug. Things are bad and they are going to get worse if we fail to unite and act now.