THE FAULTS IN OUR LAWS
By: Gillian Brooks
“Shoot to kill.” Many found this remark debatable when former police commissioner Bheki Cele said it at a press conference. Perhaps this kind of clamp on crime would make South Africa a better place, with CrimeStats
SA releasing the latest crime statistics showing that this country we so desperately fought for, has become a clearing house for all types of criminal activity.
The justice system was created to protect citizens according to the constitution, but has failed to live up to its mandate.
Citizens are no longer able to protect themselves in their own homes, record-level teenage pregnancy and illegal abortions, sexual harassment in the workplace, service-delivery protests, all have become daily topics of discussion in our land, proving perhaps, that the democracy we fought for is flawed.
The law that states you may only attack an intruder in self-defense leaves many people fearing for their safety and property, as they cannot act first when faced with an intruder. Nombuso Mlambo experienced first hand, this feeling of utter hopelessness- “my mother was hijacked as she was parking the car. They led her at gunpoint to the front door, and I was in the house at the time. I tried calling 10111(police) and my call was dropped twice. On the third attempt I got through and the operator sounded very uninterested, which sent me into a higher panic.
Thankfully we have a home security system and I sounded the alarm, which spooked the criminals.
They still got away with my mum’s car,” Mlambo said.
Many robberies and house break-ins are not reported as many of the victims feel that law enforcement is ineffective. Last year the City Press Newspaper reported that 30 000 households were surveyed between 2010 and 2011. This study, focused mainly on house break-ins and house robberies, found that in 2011, 730 000 houses had been broken into, and 200 000 robberies were reported.
Abortion in South Africa is still a very sensitive topic. It is legal for woman of any age to have abortions without their parents’ consent, depending on their circumstances, yet it is still regarded as taboo in many communities.
When dealing with the laws concerning the work environment, sexual harassment is something commonly seen. As much as the law forbids it, employee’s still find themselves in situations where confronting this issue could lead to them losing their jobs. This shows the lack of confidence South Africans have in their government.
“If I were working in a high end government job and got sexually harassed I would report it, but I honestly don’t think law enforcement will do much about it. He will probably just get a slap on the wrist and call it a day.” Chante’ McKay, a tele-marketer who was a victim of sexual harassment.
In South Africa every citizen has the right to protest as this is a form of freedom of speech. These protests are considered legal only if they are of a peaceful nature, though many of these protests turn violent, causing harm to many innocent citizens. It is then that police get involved.
These types of protests have many negative ripple effects on our country and its inhabitants. “All these illegal protest really scare the life out of me. I’m afraid to be in the street when I hear that there may be a strike.” – Jamy-Lee Simons a UKZN student.
These are just a few of our many laws that have had a negative impact on our country. South Africa is being crippled by the loop holes in our laws that were implemented to hold this country together.