In South Africa, jail is for those too poor to slip through. SA's jails are jam-packed with petty offenders too poor to pay bail while dangerous criminals who have the money walk free - often to commit more violent crimes.
A recent victim was Bergvliet resident Jane van Zyl, 52, who was cold-bloodedly shot in the head by a gang who took her handbag.
One of the men charged with her murder, Gershwin Hartzenberg, 25, of Grassy Park, was out on bail for a similar crime.
Provincial Commissioner Mzwandile Petros said Hartzenberg was one of eight men who had been granted bail in driveway robbery cases.
The DA spokesperson on justice, Tertius Delport, said bail was granted far too easily and no proper records were kept of offenders released on bail.
The DA has used written questions (jeesh, more questions from the DA. Pretending to be an 'opposition' are we?) in Parliament to ask the ministers of justice and safety and security how many crimes were committed by people who were out on bail. But no answers have been forthcoming and Delport said each passed the buck. (no surprises there. Add these questions to the hundreds of unanswered questions pending)
In 2005 it emerged in a written parliamentary reply from Safety and Security Minister (a misnomer of a title if ever there was one) Nqakula that nearly 700 children were raped from 2002 to March in 2004 by men who had previous rape convictions. When asked last year for the figures in Parliament, Nqakula said the required information was not immediately available and to obtain it would be "time-consuming". (well, we’d hate to take you away from doing your job of protecting the citizenry so efficiently. Would it eat into your golfing time?)
Last month, ANC president Jacob Zuma called for a debate on the granting of bail to those accused of murder and rape. He was quoted as saying: "Let us do something that favours the victim and not the criminal." (actions boet, words mean nothing)
He also highlighted as a problem the "ready access to bail for those accused of serious crimes", when addressing a group of Afrikaans businessman earlier this year.
Even Tim Williams, who has taken over from national Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi while he is on special leave, recently said that repeat offenders were a major problem which pointed to a weakness in the courts.
Other horrifying cases were the rape and murder of 11-year-old Annestacia Wiese by Richard Engelbrecht, who had earlier indecently assaulted his three-year-old former step-daughter and been released on correctional supervision for stabbing a young American journalist.
Engelbrecht eventually received two life sentences but has announced his intention to appeal.
Knysna freelance photographer Alix Carmichele was savagely attacked by rapist Francois Coetzee, who was out on bail for similar offences. She was awarded damages after taking legal action against the minister of safety and security, but so far hasn't received a cent. (don't expect payment from the ANC goons)
Hishaam Mohamed, the Western Cape's justice department head, said there was nothing wrong with the bail law itself, but rather its interpretation by some magistrates and other members of the judiciary. (replace those magistrates with competent people then)
Better training and more experience was needed as well as better information from the police and the public.
"It is a challenge. There is nothing wrong with bail law, but 'slip-throughs' are a reality." (‘oops’ I did a boo-boo means squat to the victims)
Mohamed said people often misunderstood the concept of bail and equated it with the ferocity of a crime.
"But from a legal perspective it is not directly related to ferocity at all." (then change it)
Mohamed said a number of factors were considered by a court when deciding whether to grant bail. These included whether or not the accused was a flight risk; whether they were likely to interfere with witnesses; public interest; and the type of crime and the seriousness of the offence. (how about no bail for violent offences, geniuses?!! Take the option away from judges)
In recent years the bail laws had been amended and made more stringent. (yeah sure, and I’ve some snake oil to sell you to cure Aids. All the cases mentioned above were committed AFTER the bail laws were supposedly "made more stringent")
"The onus has shifted from the state to the accused to prove there were compelling reasons why they should be granted bail." (make them do it then, why are they still being let out?)
Mohamed said the "seven-day rule" had also been introduced to give the state time to investigate something of an accused's background before they applied for bail. (why then are accused being released the next day? Only in SA, where 1 = 7)