EDITORIAL | Cannot pretend ours is a normal society


Since January, we have reported on a series of killings which have taken place, particularly in Nelson Mandela Bay townships in 2019. Over nine weeks, at least 22 people died in violence initially sparked by a clash over a fraught municipal project.The public nature of the first few hit murders would soon reveal a much wider and more prevalent criminal underworld system on our doorstep. It is a system whose existence is not new.But its currency is in its ability to increasingly shape, through paralysing fear, a community life underpinned by lawlessness.Be it revenge murders, gang turf wars or simply the killing of random crime witnesses, it is clear from these cases that our city is under siege.Over the last two weeks, our journalists have braved the menacing terrain to bring you the story of those murdered, the pain of their families and the harsh reality of their communities.Their stories are as complex as they are compelling. But they all have two things in common.They are as much a product of a broken political economy as they are victims of a society where power is defined through violence and anarchy.In hearing their stories, perhaps the easiest thing to do is question the apparent inadequacy of law enforcement to quell such violence.And indeed we must.But our responsibility as law-abiding citizens goes beyond that.We must also question ourselves, more importantly, on the constructive role we ought to play to collectively push back against these systems of thuggery.What we can never do is look the other way to pretend that ours is a normal society.

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