Its funny how my idea of “mob justice” has been morphed, prodded and influenced by Francis Ford Coppola movies. I envision a Southern Italian with an ironic flower nickname like Bobby “the daffodil” Puccini giving concrete swimming shoes to a police informant, and then celebrating with a bowl of Spaghetti Napolitano. But this stereotype has been molested by the Hollywood guild and a South African context bears little, if any, semblance. Thabo “The Eastern Cape Protea” Mandonsela hardly wields the unrequited fear that his Sicilian counterpart is so well renowned. Yet the local Saffas have power in numbers, and quite strangely; social responsibility. Now I must preface my words with the standard “I, in no way, condone violence in any form”, but a community backhanding a cell phone thief does get my highly esteemed golden star. Its no secret that the SAPS has failed your average South African. Im not talking about the white Bishopscourt housewives receiving foot rubs from their ADT guards, Im talking about the working class general citizens who live in shanty town squalor and whose New South Africa world resembles a lawless wasteland. Its in these townships of desperation, where the law is as effective as a condom in a Kardashian household, that the community is police, judge, jury and executioner, and a rather heavy handed hangman at that! Is it a legitimate way to drown the flames of anarchy?
Basically the idea centers on a notion that due to limp-dicked policeman, a town leader will drag the accused into a communal setting. Charges are catapulted from all corners and eventually the “mob” decries a guilty verdict. This is followed by beatings, stonings and, according to Captain Malcom Pojie of Plettenberg Bay police station; “group discipline”. However in the case of Derrick Shwati, a cluster of 2000 protestors swarmed the poor oke, and the bottom-end of Plett’s warped socio-economic disparity, got their freak on. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” But if youre the seventh dude hurling rocks at an accused child rapist then youre in an ethical grey area. This is where my main problem lies. Poor Mr Shwati had more black guys on top of him then Lohan at the ass end of a crack binge, and just like Lindsay Id be surprised if a third of them even knew his name. When adrenalin is pumping and everyone is riding the bandwagon like it’s a Porsche Boxter, people don’t care if he’s guilty, what his crime is or if the law has taken its course. “This dudes getting moered with stones… and I love a good ‘moering’.” There’s no fair trial, no thought of the consequences, its simply the heat of the moment; and its fucking boiling.
Our courts are the sacrosanct cornerstone of the South African constitution. And while our leaders might treat them as canine fecal matter beneath their shoes, the general public is required to regard their verdicts as gospel. However, in yet another case in Kwanokuthula township outside Plett, a man who had served his allotted jail term of 18 years for child rape, was shown the wrath of the community he returned to and was killed within days of his homecoming. Now Im the first person to think child rapists should have Hummers slowly reverse over their testicals, and 18 years doesn’t cover the deed, but the man served his sentence under SA law. He abided by our country’s legislation and did his time. If you have a problem with that, vote the rule makers from power, fuck even draft a complaint with your municipal counselor, but to go all Boondock Saints on a dude who has experienced 18 years of ass rapeage isn’t the correct way to instill a sense of obedience.
The idea of killing someone because they stole a cell phone is archaic at best. I don’t see the mobs of this world lining up outside Luthuli House to stone the thieves who steal billions of Rands of public funds every year either. But this only serves to highlight that the law enforcement in the majority of this country is failing worse than Tom Cruise’s attempts at heterosexuality. Mob justice leaves itself open to catastrophic wrongful convictions. A man inLimpopowas killed recently after he was found sleeping in a barn where stock theft had taken place. An eye for a cow? Doesn’t quite ring true and most certainly wouldn’t pass scrutiny in civilized society. We have an army equipped with enough artillery to make Pakistan spread her legs, yet we cant police our own townships? Get the military involved, hold the leaders of these mobs severely accountable and prove to the masses who get implicated in these killings that there is recourse. Because currently, our mobs are making Al Capone seem like Pope John Paul at a soup kitchen!
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