KEETMANSHOOP – Outraged Keetmanshoop community members are demanding the return of corporal punishment in schools and have appealed to government to take better care of juveniles.
According to several women who attended the court hearing of the six boys who were charged with three murders, it is now government’s turn to take responsibility for schoolchildren’s unruly behaviour.
“I feel that our hands as parents and teachers are tied, we cannot do anything to discipline our children because they have so many rights. If we have corporal punishment back then children will behave. Look at how many parents are killed by their own children. We see the poor teachers being chased around by the children who must respect them. We had respect when corporal punishment was there and we did not see these things of parents being killed by their children,” said an outraged Elizabeth Appolus.
Appolus did however point out that it is difficult to lobby for the imprisonment of juveniles because they deserve a chance in life.
“On the other hand I feel they must feel how it feels to kill someone but on the other side I am thinking of their future and the fact that they are underaged, their future is at stake here. But this is what happens if you get involved with wrong friends,” she sighed.
She further called for the re-enforcement of hostel rules and suggested that children who reside in hostels must only be allowed to go home over long weekends. “We cannot have them out every weekend; we must also give the poor parents time to rest. Let them only go home over long weekends, because they anyway only go out to drink and look for trouble,” Appolus said.
“Government must begin to look at the underaged criminals who they allow to run around loose. They are a big problem these underaged criminals because they just go back home and cause the same trouble again because they cannot go to prison. And to let them back into society is very insensitive towards the families of the deceased like us. And to think they have so many cases against them, housebreakings, knife wounds on the people they have assaulted. It is just too many things that they have against them. Even the youngest must remain in prison . . . they have really hurt us,” sobbed the boys’ latest victim Augustineus Joseph’s sister Eva Otto.
Otto described her brother as a peace loving man who would not hurt a fly. Johanna Coetzee one of the community members also expressed sadness at the fact that children whose parents try everything to secure a good life for them must turn out as criminals.
“It is so painful. I am so sore. It is so sad to see that children are doing things like this. The parents cannot be blamed for something like this; no parent raises his child as a criminal. We are only looking for the best of our children. The children pick these things up from the streets. But they mos also have rights these days,” said Coetzee.
By Jemima Beukes