On Thursday 28 June 2012, Imam Dr. A. Rashied Omar, delivered the opening address at a vigil called to remember the 11 victims of mob justice in Khayelitsha since the beginning of 2012. About 200 people took part in the vigil at the Solomon Mahlangu Hall, organized by the Social Justice Coalition. Imam Rashied who spoke in his capacity as chairperson of the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum condemned mob justice and neck lacing as inhumane and barbaric.
He said it would be “immoral for us to raise all of our valid criticisms against mob justice and neck lacing we do not at the same time acknowledge that the scourge of crime is threatening to eat up all of our hard earned freedoms and democracy and that there is a break downing the criminal justice system more especially here in Khayelitsha”. He called on the community to come up with a viable plan of action which procures immediate results. Unless we do not find legal solutions, “our communities will be plunged into, God-forbid, an abyss” he said.
Read the full text of his address below:
Vigil to Remember Victims of Mob Justice
Khayelitsha - Thursday 28 June 2012-06-28
Imam A. Rashied Omar – Chair WCRLF
Comrades and Friends,
I bring you greetings of peace from the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum (WCRLF) and its chief patron, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba. I am here on behalf of WCRLF to show our solidarity with the victims of mob justice and neck lacing. We pray for the repose of the souls of the victims and we extend our deepest sympathy to their parents and families.
Comrades and Friends, I am here on behalf of WCRLF to say loudly and clearly that mob justice and necklacing is wrong and inhumane. No human being – not even a criminal - deserves to die in such a barbaric manner. We are deeply concerned at the growing numbers of our people who are supporting and endorsing such acts of barbarism.
It would, however, be immoral for us to raise all of our valid criticisms against mob justice and neck lacingif we do not at the same time acknowledge that the scourge of crime is threatening to eat up all of our hard earned freedoms and democracy and that there is a breakdownin the criminal justice system more especially here in Khayelitsha.
This situation is exacerbated by factors such as police brutality, solicitation of bribes, police being drunk on duty and corruption. It is clear that the people have lost their patience with crime and they have lost their confidence in the criminal justice system and have no trust in the police.
Comrades and Friends, We need to use the present crisis by pressurising our democratically elected authorities to stop using crime as a political football, and to come up with a viable plan of action which procures immediate results. Unless we can provide our communities with concrete proof that the law enforcement agencies have the will and competence to rid our communities of the scourge of crime, mob justice will remain the popular, and some may argue the only, option.
If there are no legal solutions, our communities will be plunged into, God-forbid, an abyss. We are here to find those legal solutions. If we cannot find these solutions, and mob justice is left to rule, we will all lose our humanity. We commend the Social Justice Coalition and all other organizations who have organized this critical meeting. WCRLF looks forward to your constructive suggestions on how to resolve this problem and pledge our full support to your endeavours.
Thank you for your patience with me.