Media statement by Justice and Constitutional Development Minister, Mr Jeff Radebe on mob justice is just as criminal
29 Jun 2011Government has noted with concern a growing trend of incidents of vigilantism in certain parts of the country, especially in the Eastern Cape. The so called mob justice is hardly a form of justice. It is a form of criminal behaviour punishable under law. If anything, it is an injustice of a criminal nature that must be condemned by all who uphold the ethos of the constitutional order within which we all must live. Those who participate in these inglorious acts are just as guilty as those against whom they act or seek to act.
We appeal to the community to resist the temptation to participate in this criminal behaviour. Those who try to justify it claim that it is effective. Its instant outcomes which are in total disregard of the principles of natural justice, is one of the troubling concerns. The results are often accompanied by the harshest punishment and irreversible consequences.
In some cases punishment is in the form of death. This simply flies in the face of our Constitution. We call on all members of the communities to work together with our law enforcement agencies in identifying perpetrators of crime so that they are dealt with in accordance with the law. Criminals must find it increasingly hard to find haven in our communities.
Notwithstanding the imperfections of our criminal justice system, government is working hard to strengthen the institutional mechanisms that must ensure that our system becomes more effective. One area that is receiving attention relates to the strengthening of our bail regime. A proposal already introduced in the Justice, Crime-Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster deals with the introduction of legislation intended to deny bail to those suspects or accused persons who are granted bail and whilst out on bail commit crime again.
In terms of this proposal, an accused person who gets arrested for the third time whilst on bail on two preceding matters must not get bail for the third time. In addition, the management of the bail process is being strengthened by the issuing of policy directives to the Police and Prosecutors in order to guide them when dealing with bail in a more effective manner. This in turn will assist the courts as all relevant information will be placed before the presiding officers for proper adjudication and appropriate bail decisions.
Furthermore, we call on all our communities and law enforcement agencies to ensure that the community policing forums and the street committees make it hard for criminals to hide. As a cluster, we are willing to embark on information sessions which are intended to empower these structures so that they are able to know the legal parameters within which they must work. This includes how to and when to effect “a citizen’s arrest”.
We call on our agencies on the ground to do more and keep communication lines open with the communities in order to promote understanding and cooperation on matters that relate to fighting crime.
It remains the responsibility of all of us to ensure that the rule of law is upheld. Even more, it is our national duty to guard against the assault on the Constitution.
Cell: 082 3333 880
Source: Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
Issued by: Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
29 Jun 2011
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