The real state of the nation: a triad of tragedies

I am sure that I am not the only South African who feels the effects of last week.

In the wake of Anene Booysens murder, with most South Africans ‘gatvol’ of the unacceptable level of violent crime in our country, comes Dr Mamphela Ramphele’s announcement to form a new political party and the tragic death of Reeva Steenkamp.

These three events, for me in any event, denote a triad of tragedies in our nation.

1. Anene Booysens rape and murder represents the level of violence in our communities and the apparent inability of our Government to prevent it.

A young girl's message

A young girl's message

2. Dr Ramphele’s political intentions disclose the loss of faith so many South African’s feel in our current Government.

3. Reeva Steenkamp’s death reveals the inherent weaknesses in our Criminal Justice System as well as the SAPS, both of which could prove to be potentially catastrophic should they prevent the Truth from coming out.

This is the real state of the nation and having been involved at some level with all three events, I am feeling both encouraged as well as discouraged:

Encouraged because I witnessed how so many South Africans rose up against the death of Anene Booysens in a way in which I have never seen before. Whilst the media put this particularly horrific act of violence out there, Anene Boosyens has come to represent all victims and survivors of violent crime in South Africa and I hope that the momentum that has gathered to rise up against violent crime, is not going to dissipate. At so many levels there are things we can all do to help

A protestor holding up one of our posters

A protestor holding up one of our posters

fight this fight: stay ‘loud’ on the issue, support organisations who offer counselling and assistance to rape survivors, submit a public submission in support of the DNA Bill when called, use your social media platforms to good and constructive effect to spread the word. The list goes on. If you have a will you will find a way!

I am also encouraged by the tenacity of highly respected figures such as Dr Ramphele to call our Government on so many key areas where our nation is feeling let down. I  was fortunate to have been invited to Dr Ramphele’s announcement in JHB last week, held at the amazing Constitutional

Dr Ramphela at Constitutional Hill

Dr Ramphela at Constitutional Hill

Hill’s Women’s Jail and this was an address that I felt our president should have been making the week before – it was an eloquent, and impassioned call to action to not accept mediocrity or worse still, a blatant disregard of our needs, from our Government. If you have not yet read her address, I would encourage you to do so – visit

And sadly, following the media circus that made up the bail application of Oscar Pistorius, I felt disappointed that critical crime scene management protocols had clearly not been followed which could  potentially prevent the truth from emerging. Inadmissibility of evidence due to the mismanagement of a crime scene is just unacceptable because it is preventable. Come on SAPS! I know that there are some great policemen and women out there – but don’t let yourselves and each other down by disturbing or contaminating crime scenes when it is so avoidable! One of the biggest challenges we have in South Africa is educating first on crime scene responders on the importance of how to protect and preserve a crime scene. Crime Scene Management at a higher level also needs to be addressed and I believe that the Government needs to embark on a massive  training campaign to ensure that those responsible for preserving and collecting crime scene evidence, are properly trained and have the necessary resources to effect their job properly.

Never Disturb a Crime Scene

Our TV ad: Never Disturb a Crime Scene

On a positive note, I have been approached by so many people about our fantastic advert which etv have so generously flighted as a PSA since Deecember 2012 (i.e., at no cost to us). The message “never Disturb a Crime Scene” has never been more pertinent and if  even one person takes note and follows through on this essential advice, and manages to save critical evidence which links a perpetrator to their crime, then it has been worth it – because that act may just save one life, because by taking the criminal off the street they are preventing him from doing it again. And I talk from experience as well as from a platform where I represent many more people who have lost a loved one to crime in South Africa — that one life, is worth it. – Vanessa Lynch


We are still issuing CRIME SCENE TAPE free of charge to any first on crime scene responder.

A sample of our crime scene tape

A sample of our crime scene tape

The purpose of this tape is to provide a physical barrier between the crime scene and non-forensic, non-essential personnel. The reason we have created this tape is to try and ensure that crime scenes are protected from contamination, destruction and disturbance for as long as possible in order for the Crime Scene Investigators to properly collect evidence left at the crime scene before it is destroyed.

As we cannot use official SAPS barrier tape, we have printed 1000 rolls of this ‘non-official’ barrier tape which actually has a functional message and we are hoping, will prevent people from entering crime scenes. It will be issued to CPF’s, paramedics, security companies and non-SAPS first responding officers in an effort to help SECURE the crime scene.

Should you wish to obtain a roll of this tape for the above purposes, please contact Maya Moodley on and she will send you further information.

One Response to “The real state of the nation: a triad of tragedies”

  1. Mark Gevers says:

    Having lost my mother to a senseless murder also, I hail the magnificent efforts of Vanessa Lynch and her project team for the work they have done iro DNA evidence…..Congrats Vanessa, you are a true patriot and exemplary role model!