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Our future is at stake

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This is not the first time that a so-called ‘rehabilitated’ prisoner is let out and just re-offends.

WHEN I was a kid growing up in the 80s and 90s we could do a whole lot more without any of the risks the young ones face today.

For instance, we used to live out in Diskobolos, the army base, which meant we didn’t get to see family very much in the week. So, on weekends, usually a Sunday afternoon, we would visit my grandmother and grandfather at the Stillerwee Old Age Home.

This was quite the treat as we would actually be able to spend time with them. Yes, in those days we actually looked forward to those times as we knew we would be spoiled rotten.

I remember my gran always used to slip us a shiny silver 5c or 10c – if they had gotten pension. When we got one of those, we felt rich beyond words. Now, what must be remembered is that in those days 10c could buy you a whole lot. 

So once we had the shiny coin in our sweaty hands, we could not wait to spend it. We would tell our parents we were just going to go for a walk around the grounds but, instead we would make our great escape and head straight for the cafe at the Hadison Park centre.

Not a far distance at all and we would run with all our might so that we could get our goodies and race back before our parents even knew we were gone.

With our 10c we were able to buy a small packet of Simba chips, some kilties, a fizzer and maybe if we were lucky a Wilson toffee.

Now to get back and try to explain to our parents where we came on our booty.

Fortunately, the worst was a tongue-lashing for our red faces from all the exertion.

Then, before we moved to the army camp, we lived in Waterworks Street. I remember from my very first day at school, together with the other neighbourhood children, we would walk to and from Newton Primary School every day.

My parents then thought it fit, once we moved to the army camp, to place us in West End Primary School. We used to catch the bus to and from school every day. I remember on occasion having a shiny 50c and as soon as the bus dropped me off, I ran around the corner to the local cafe. 

Sometimes I used to be ‘aspris’ and miss the afternoon bus. The school would then call my mom who would then inform the school that I would need to sit outside the school gate until she finished work at 4.30pm. I never had a problem with that. It was much better than going home. But, after the tongue lashing I received, things were good again.

Onto high school. By now we had moved out of the army camp and were living in Herlear. At this point my sisters and I were attending what was then known as Commercial High School. 

I remember we had just basically moved and we didn’t have bicycles at the time. My eldest sister was in matric and was writing exams. So, the only way to get to school was to walk. We left home at approximately 6am in the middle of winter. We walked the dark streets to make it to school by 7.30am. I know this is the norm for many today and I feel for you.

Those were the days when one could do these things. Now you don’t risk setting your foot outside the gate if you don’t have to. Now you give up all your freedom just so that you can stay alive.

It’s not fair and I’m sure little Tazne van Wyk’s parents felt exactly the same way. The shop was probably just feet away from their home.

Why should we suffer because of a justice and a correctional service that is stuffed up? This is not the first time that a so-called ‘rehabilitated’ prisoner is let out and just re-offends. 

I remember sitting in court one day where a murderer and rapist was on trial. This was not his first offence – in fact he was out on parole on a similar offence – yet his lawyer begged and pleaded with the judge to not mete out the maximum sentence as he knew his client could be rehabilitated. 

The same as little Tazne’s killer. 

We can’t let this continue. Our very future is at stake here. Something needs to give.