Dear DM168 reader,
It’s incredible how we Southerners are so fascinated by such a rare natural phenomenon as snow. I couldn’t touch the icy flakes that littered the faces of my family, friends and colleagues 35 minutes down the N1 in Johannesburg, but what a welcome relief and happiness it was to see so many images of joy and wonder. Our photo editors have selected the best of these images for your post on the dazzling winter in this week’s newspaper.
Every time I write this letter to you, I ask you to interact with me on whatever is on your mind or in response to our stories. Sometimes it feels like we’re working in a vacuum, our stories landing in the deathly hallows of cyberspace or becoming part of the trash of supermarket shelves.
When you write to me, whether in praise or criticism, or whether you share a thought, anecdote, joke, or rhetoric of a story, it energizes me. Your weekly emails are my snowflakes.
A story about alleged corruption from a tip from a reader
A few months ago, a reader, Attorney Mr. Muthusi Mugari, sent me an email about a story that he thought needed to be investigated. It bugged me week after week, to check what progress had been made on the story about the disenfranchised of justice of members of a remote poor community in the Northwest, who had been unjustly accused of public violence, arrested and imprisoned. Residents asked Mugari to file a lawsuit against the then police minister, Nathi Neliku, for damages.
Do they face a snowball chance in hell to get any compensation from the police minister for the trauma they went through in prison? If not, just say it. And explain why.
It took a while because the issues were complex and needed responses from everyone involved, but this week, after much effort and effort, research and interviews, author Lucas Ledawaba shines a light on the case that raises deep questions about how legal professionals financially or otherwise can benefit from Unreasonably excessive judicial delays.
Mr. Mugari alleges there is some form of collusion and corruption in the system, an allegation that the Hawks investigated and turned over to the NPA, which decided not to prosecute. The NPA has not yet fully explained to Mr. Mogari or the community why this decision was made.
We hope by sharing this story, the NPA will answer not only for us but for those people who have lost faith in the legal system because they have been sent from one pillar to another. Why not tell them the truth? Do they face a snowball chance in hell to get any compensation from the police minister for the trauma they went through in prison? If not, just say it. And explain why.
Unlicensed guns killed and maimed
When our specialist crime writer Karen Dolley first wrote about Gun Free South Africa’s class action case against SAPS on behalf of victims of guns sold by the police to gang members and criminals, I shared with you how much I hated guns and the bar. The way it is used on our streets to assassinate whistleblowers like Babita Ducaran, or in taxi and drug wars, domestic violence and family murder.
One of our readers who disagreed with my point of view was an ex-cop who made me think a little deeper about responsible gun use for defense and protection. While I understand the reader’s point of view, the story Karen writes in this week’s paper shows just how far we are from responsible use of firearms.
It all comes down to our pathetic excuse for the police service, which fails in no uncertain terms to “create a safe and secure environment” for each of us not surrounded by 81 VIP unit officers and blue light phalanxes.
Karen’s story reveals how the proliferation of unlicensed firearms is linked to the shameful state of the Central Firearms Registry, which aims to keep a record of every firearm. This has been going on for years and has not yet been settled. The killers use stolen and unlicensed firearms and too many of the weapons used in the murders are not traced, traced and destroyed.
Come on, Minister Sele and Commissioner Masimola. You both have been involved in the police service for over a decade. How many innocent killings will it take for you to get your act together?
Make my day by sharing your snowflakes of thoughts and feedback on [email protected]
You defend the truth
This story first appeared in Our Weekly 168 newspaper, which is available nationwide for R29.