I have just read the article covering the number of gunshot victims being treated at Groote Schuur and Tygerberg hospitals (Cape Town’s Gun Violence is Making Health Workers Sick‚ Bosses Warn, August 9). 

It is horrifying that many of our people must live not knowing when a stray or intentional bullet will hit them. This is a war situation. Governing party politicians must stop thinking about the next election and how they are going to line their pockets and instead do what their supporters want, which is to be a government for the people of SA.

To win this war against gangsters and criminals we need to act as if this is a war for our survival as a country. Since the death sentence will never be re-introduced I suggest allowing the police, army and general public to defend themselves with maximum force (to shoot to kill) if confronted with a gun or knife-wielding person whose intention is clearly to harm them.

In every case an investigation would have to be done to determine if such a person reacted appropriately. Furthermore, if we want to remove these criminals from society we must build more prisons and ensure sentences are much longer.

Ideally it should be life (meaning life, not 25 years) for murderers, rapists, drug trafficking in hard drugs like tik, and any sexual or physical harm to a child. Illegal guns must be removed from society, and a harsh minimum sentence imposed if you are found in possession of an illegal or stolen gun, equivalent to a murder charge, because it is surely your intention to use it or to sell it to someone who will use it in committing murder.

The above methods will definitely reduce contact crime, but the underlying reasons for criminal activities must also be addressed: lack of a proper education, unemployment, drugs and corruption. The last-mentioned should also incur a life sentence.

Ockert Fourie, Durbanville

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