On 26 August 2020, I wrote a piece called Femicide a Genocide, and in it I wrote: “ Yes, they have the love of a grandmother, aunt or old friend of their mother’s, however, all mothers know; there is no one that could possibly give your child the unconditional self-sacrificial love you do.”
I am sorry. I realised soon afterward that it was an unfair statement to make. In this piece, I have the opportunity to retract it and apologise to every auntie, friend, grandmother, legal guardian and adoptive mother or father of a child, who I may have offended. To all of you who love your children with every fiber of your being and would do anything in the world to protect them. I am truly sorry.
On Friday morning, listening to the radio on my way to work, I heard the story of Clifford Resandt who had been arrested in 2018 on charges of the rape of his wife’s niece. This week, Clifford and his wife, police Brigadier Rosy Resandt, both appeared in court on the charges of corruption.
An extract from a news article on iol.co.za quoting the National Prosecuting Authority’s spokesperson, Sipho Ngwema, in a statement on Thursday:
“They appeared on charges of corruption. This is after the husband was arrested on 20 January 2018 for allegedly raping the wife’s niece.
An amount of R500 000 was transferred from the Shepherd Bushiri Ministries to Rosy’s account on 22 January 2018. The amount reflected on the parents of the child’s home loan account.
’’The same day when the money reflected on the parents’ account, the child dropped the charges against the husband. In the next court date, the matter was withdrawn from the court.’’
How did any of these adults justify their actions?
This story made my tummy turn, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Firstly, that wife attempted to help her husband cover up a rape crime. Secondly, a rape crime he was the perpetrator in and that her niece was the victim of. Thirdly, that she is an officer of the law, a brigadier in the police attached to the national head office’s detective unit for organised crime.
I was appalled that so many atrocities came out of one case. Most disturbing, and the reason for my open apology; How did this mother justify accepting money from the man who raped her daughter? Where the money came from really isn’t the issue for me right now. I doubt there is much more that can shock me about what a pastor/prophet will do – one who is already being charged with rape.
You know, it is our responsibility as parents, to care for, protect and teach our children the right way. How did these parents protect their daughter? How was this an action that portrayed care towards her and most importantly what exactly is it that they have taught their daughter by accepting money for silence even though she was sexually violated by her aunt’s husband? Is the lesson from these parents not that: “It’s ok to be sexually violated as long as there’s a good price paid for your silence?”
I immediately think of the many poverty-stricken communities where young girls find themselves in abusive and unhealthy relationships. Because he provides financially for her and her family, she is ‘forced’ to endure whatever he throws at her, regardless of the possible harmful consequences.
Why are our girls being raised this way, as pawns, a chess piece of the lowest value? To fit into a game where their supposed Kings and Queens leave them unprotected and vulnerable?
We don’t stand a chance.
Do the people of our country actually stand a chance against the systems put into place to serve and protect them? I mean, if a brigadier in the police willingly plays an active role in the bribery of a rape victim and her family: What chance do we have?
In a time where the country is dependent on the enforcement of the law by its officers, with the country officially being in its second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. How do we expect lower-ranked officers like lieutenants to stand tall, execute what is expected of them and to uphold the police code of ethics, that among other values includes the value of integrity:
We, as the employees of the SAPS, continually strive to uphold the mission, values, ethical principles and ethical standards of the SAPS. We will behave in a manner that is consistent with these values.We will act honestly and responsibly in all situations. We will always tell the truth, perform our duties with noble motives and set an example in the communities we serve.
The failure to uphold the code of ethics is the reason, police officers can be part of a crowd of 1000 people with 90% of them not wearing masks and not be phased by it. They 1. Either don’t care or 2. Have their pockets lined with just enough dirty money to suddenly lose the ability to count or spot a civilian without a mask?
That during the COVID – 19 pandemic, according to a News24 report, “bribery features in 31% of reports of police corruption, highlighting how police officers solicit bribes from suspects and victims alike as well as residents.”
The failure to uphold the code of ethics is the reason police officers taking drug money from drug dealers and performing fake arrests is referred to as the open secret by Paul McNally, in a piece on Groundup.org.za.
It’s about more than the ranking.
Police officers should remember that it is not their rankings that will gain them the respect of civilians. Nor does it make them successful officers. Instead, it is their ability to show us that they are officers of the law in all aspects. With the capability to act honestly and responsibly in all situations. Their ability to always tell the truth, perform their duties with noble motives and set an example in the communities they serve.
It is that that makes them honourable officers of the law.
*These are the opinions of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Vannie Kaap News.