Curing the plague

May they rot in jail!

But it would have been even better if they were taken out altogether. Removed from the face of the earth. Why should our money be used to look after them for the next 40 years?

At the moment there are more than 162 000 prisoners in South African correctional institutions – according to the Department of Correctional Services. Of this total, 86 489 prisoners are incarcerated for committing violent crimes.

Taxpayers (you and I) fork out R124 per prisoner per day. If we “remove” the 86 489 violent-crime prisoners from the system, we will save nearly R11-million – per day!

Even previously “unsoiled” countries such as Lesotho are reeling under the strain of crime, as we discovered during a recent visit to this country. First a policeman at the Van Rooyenshek border post tried to extort a bribe from us, even threatening us with arrest. At the Semonkong village we learnt of the murder of a local businessman, a week before our visit.

And a month earlier, we heard, an elderly couple from South Africa was hijacked at the Maletsunyane waterfall. Luckily they were not harmed, but their Land Rover ended up down the side of a mountain, completely wrecked.

Indeed, Southern Africa is riddled with crime, bribery and corruption. Given, after recent statements by top officials to “shoot to kill” there does seem to be a new resolve from the authorities to actually fight the menace.

Meanwhile this war (that’s what it is) has made us impervious to death. Like the newspaper reader who commented (by letter to the publication) that the best front-page story of the year was a photograph of seven dead scumbags, shot dead by police in Polokwane. And on the same front page, a story of a criminal who accidentally shot his own penis to smithereens during a botched robbery. Sick really, but wonderful news all the same!

The fact remains: criminals have no fear of the consequences of their deeds.

This is where my “eradication” concept fits in.

Publicise a cut-off date, to the effect that 27 April was publicised back in 1994. Everyone must know about it. After this day there must be absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind: if found guilty of a violent crime, you will be executed in a public place.

In an advertising campaign it can be compared to entering a closed room with hungry lions. But it is important that everybody knows that from that day onwards there will be no alternative other than death for convicted violent criminals.

And for those who don’t like this idea, a question: who’s side are you on?

Some anti death-penalty activists say the fear of death doesn’t deter criminals from commiting violent crimes.

They are missing the point. It’s not about deterring. It is about eradication.

If you have a rat plague at home, do you catch them, put them in neat little cages and feed them for the rest of their days? No. You eliminate the problem.

This concept should be seen as a way of ridding our society of the plague of violent crime offenders. A plague that is slowly but surely consuming our lives. Like a cancer.

In the current state of war we live in, we see this as the only way of getting our defunct society back to relative normallity.