/OPINION | Tazne van Wyk: Poverty of our political system is what killed her in the end

OPINION | Tazne van Wyk: Poverty of our political system is what killed her in the end

2020-02-24 10:44

The reality is the politicians are the biggest beneficiaries of this system of poverty. Poverty is what keeps politicians in power, writes Wesley Fester

Waking up on the morning that Tazne Van Wyk’s body was found was just another day to me. Another day in my privileged middle class existence far removed from the lived reality of so many people on the violent Cape Flats.

As I got out of the shower, I checked my phone for news alerts, in order to choose which stories to focus on for the day.

I mostly shoot and create content for international media houses, so the death of another child on the Cape Flats would more than likely not trigger a response from a newsdesk in London, New York or Beijing.

The moment I saw the article from News24 that Tazne’s body was found in a drain in Worcester, something in me stirred a desire to cover this story, as I had been asking fellow media colleagues about it for weeks.

Nothing prepared me for the emotional rollercoaster I would experience for the rest of the day.

Arriving in Connaught Estate, dozens of community members crowded around the house where Tazne’s family lived in a wooden home in the front yard.

This wooden home or Wendy House in all likelihood was her place of safety and all she new and probably the last place she had a peaceful night’s rest.

Something struck me about this community. I could sense the desperation.

The desperation for a better life and a reprieve from all the social ailments that affects a community like this: drugs, sexual abuse, gangsterism, alcoholism and everything else that goes along with poverty.

See, Tazne as much as she was a victim of violence, was more a victim of an even more violent system called poverty. The violence of poverty is what ultimately led to the murder of an 8-year-old child.

Poverty is the criminal arm of a political system that imposes a value on people based on what they earn, produce or own.

Poverty as a system of repression is more violent than the pointed barrel of a gun.

A gun is aimed at one person and kills, whereas poverty destroys the hopes and aspirations even of future generations.

Even if Tazne had been found alive she would still have been a victim of violence emanating from the system of poverty.

Had she been found injured, she would have been subject to a failing health system where she most likely would have had to wait and queue for days for a medical test and perhaps be told that the police do not have rape kits.

She would have had to go through the additional trauma of having to be interviewed by police officers not fully trained to deal with acts of sexual violence, probably having to walk home from the police station with her parents.

In the next few days Tazne’s family will be exposed to the political dog and pony show where politicians parcel out blame but never claim responsibility.

The reality is the politicians are the biggest beneficiaries of this system of poverty.

Dan Plato, Albert Fritz, Bheki Cele and even President Ramaphosa will all play their parts in this fascinating sideshow to the real issues.

Poverty is what keeps politicians in power.

Promises are only meaningful to those living in poverty.

Sadly Tazne’s family knows deep down that the poverty of our political system is what killed her in the end.

– Wesley Fester is a Cape Town based video journalist.

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