Victim-offender dialogue session held in Daveyton

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Daveyton – A Victim-Offender Dialogue session, which was organised by the Department of Correctional Services, has been held in Daveyton in the East Rand.

Speaking on behalf of the department, Deputy Commissioner for Research and Marketing, Professor Musa Xulu, said the Victim-Offender Programme needed the participation of various professionals, including members of society.

“High value should also be placed on ensuring that victims of crime are empowered. The Victim-Offender Dialogue seeks to steer society in the direction of good citizenship,” he said on Thursday.

One of the offenders who asked for forgiveness was Samuel Mtsweni, who is serving a 15-year sentence for a murder in 2003.

Mtsweni made a passionate plea for forgiveness to the family of the victim and to the community.

“While in prison I came to my senses and realised that what I did was wrong and decided to apologise to the family of the victim,” he said.

According to him, he stabbed the victim after hearing that his friend was being assaulted by a group of men. Mtsweni rushed to where his friend was being assaulted, with the aim of helping him.

Mtsweni says he confronted his friend’s attackers. The men fled and one stayed behind. Mtsweni stabbed the man, who later died in hospital from his wounds.

Mtsweni was arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Three of his friends involved in the incident were also arrested and they were each sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Another offender, Raymond Moeketsi Tau is serving a 20 year sentence at Modderbee prison for raping a two-year-old boy in Duduza last November.

The victim’s family today took the first step towards forgiveness.

Tau, who showed remorse, asked for forgiveness from the victim’s family and the community.

“I’m aware that what I did is disgusting. I am sorry for my actions,” he said, adding that he smoked dagga on the day of the incident.

“I regret my actions and I have brought shame to my family. I am sorry for my bad behaviour,” he said.

During the dialogue, it emerged that Tau and the victim are related, and at the time of the incident, he was staying with the victim’s family.

Battling to come to terms with the incident, family members said they were willing to forgive him on condition that he changed his bad behaviour.

“We are disappointed by what you did, but we forgive you,” said a family spokesperson.

Last year in November, more than 3 000 people, including victims of crime, offenders, members of the public and government officials, attended the launch of the Victim-Offender Dialogue at Secunda stadium in Mpumalanga province.  That marked the first leg of a series of Victim-Offender Dialogues across the country.

According to the Department of Correctional Services, the aim of the Victim-Offender Dialogues is to encourage the offenders to realise the wrongs they have done and ask for forgiveness from those they have wronged.

As part of rehabilitation, offenders are encouraged to read while serving their sentences. – SAnews.gov.za

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