Letter: President's grand promises after slaying of Tazne ring hollow - Cape Argus

2 March 2020 - Reducing crime is a matter of dealing with the many socio-political and economic issues the government is not dealing with, not least the pressing need for an environment of job growth and investor confidence whose absence is guaranteed by the government's determination to undermine property rights.

President Cyril Ramaphosa visited Elsies River on February 25 to convey his condolences to the parents of murdered 8-year-old Tazne van Wyk.

The president apologised to the family and the community that Moehydien Pangaker, the man police suspect of murdering the child, was released on parole after being convicted of culpable homicide, child abuse and kidnapping.

"Our hearts are very sad indeed about the untimely death of this little girl who was brutally killed by somebody who was released on parole," said Ramaphosa. "He should never have been released on parole. It is quite clear that a big mistake was made in having him released on parole."

Whether it was a mistake or whether his situation warranted release in terms of the rules governing parole, we do not know. The family and the community understandably called for the reinstatement of the death penalty.

Ramaphosa said the right to life was guaranteed by the Constitution, but he was taking steps to strengthen the criminal justice system.

Two comments can be made: first, that the right to life is guaranteed, correctly so, by the Constitution, yet it is the president who seeks to amend the Bill of Rights to enable the government to remove people's rights to own property, a foundational right in the Constitution.

Second, no one believes that he is taking steps to strengthen the criminal justice system. Promises of this kind have been made so often no one takes them seriously. Reducing crime is a matter of dealing with the many socio-political and economic issues the government is not dealing with, not least the pressing need for an environment of job growth and investor confidence whose absence is guaranteed by the government's determination to undermine property rights.

Sara Gon, Institute of Race Relations

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