Picture: 123RF/BELCHONOK
Picture: 123RF/BELCHONOK

The recent crimes involving the direct theft of funds meant to alleviate the effects of the pandemic or overpricing through procurement, which is in effect the same thing, when perpetrated by the politically connected in collaboration with government officials, are no ordinary crimes.

Unlike the run-of-the-mill economic crime, where one criminal privately benefits and one victim privately suffers, these Covid-19 crimes are crimes against the state and society.

As such the criminals must not only be punished but punished severely, to reflect the outrage of society. Sentencing theory includes rehabilitation, but since this category of criminal is  incorrigible, punishments should be concentrated on the need for retribution and deterrence.

Furthermore, society must not be satisfied with ANC investigations, disciplinary or integrity hearings and suspensions with pay; the criminal justice system must get into gear so that justice is swift and seen to be done.

Sydney Kaye
Cape Town

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