Once upon a time after a long drought, desperate farmers decided to pray for rain. On the day of prayer all the locals gathered in the village square, but only one boy came with an umbrella. That boy above all others showed confidence in the prayer meeting. Similarly at night we all go to bed with no guarantee that we will be alive in the morning but we still have plans for the coming day; that is hope.
For years I have been pondering if there is a variance between justice and law and have resolved somewhat that justice is what the victim requires but law is what the criminal wants. With South Africa having one of the highest murder, rape and general crime statistics in the world it is little wonder that so many people in our society are always angry. The abuse of alcohol and drugs and its overall costs on rates and taxpayers is endless. In its haste to rid itself of the restraints of Apartheid laws, it seems as if those in authority have disposed of the proverbial baby and the bath water altogether.
What our judges and system of judgement is apparently unable to understand is that the majority of citizens do not operate in a milieu of law and order. We live and exist in situations where criminals have authority and where parliamentarians expect the riot police to resolve their disputes.
Even the middle class live in trepidation as their homes; cars and lives are always at risk. Burglar bars and barbed wire including electric fencing is no guarantee for a life free of crime. Crime happens in the parliamentary estates and in state buildings where your lunch in the communal fridge disappears.
Ordinary people who do not have access to influential networks or expensive lawyers accept that when you have money like Oscar Pistorius and Shrien Dewani you have a good change of side-stepping and delaying justice. That is why the “not guilty of murder” ruling in the Oscar Pistorius case was received with such great anger from many people.
South African’s are tired of witnessing callous criminals dodge justice when huge quantities of police and prosecutorial resources are wasted in pursued of justice. While criminals shoot willy-nilly at kids in Manenberg and Hanover Park, multitudes of police are at court securing Oscar Pistorius and Shrien Dewani. Is it just that rich people are afforded excess security at court while kids in play parks have no security? Why must the police intercede when parliamentarians are unable to obey the rules?
Similarly life is becoming extra difficult for most South Africans. Beyond politics and issues of justice, the price of milk has escalated to R20 for a two litre and bread is hovering around R10. How must ordinary people feed their families along with continues water and electricity increases on the way?
In the words of the wise, society is losing confidence in our political and business leaders and hope in our judicial system. That is why criminality is becoming endemic and vigilante activity will escalate.
Cllr Yagyah Adams
Cape Muslim Congress