Chris Moerdyk

When the law is nowhere to be seen

2012-03-12 07:36

Chris Moerdyk

I must admit I get pretty damn angry when the law doesn't look like it's doing its job or when justice seems to either take forever or stand firmly on the side of the bad guys.

Only last week I found my blood boiling while watching a YouTube video of a taxi in Bloemfontein driving onto the pavement and knocking over a 51-year-old pedestrian who had the nerve to wander across in front of it.

And then, to add insult to injury the driver got out of his taxi and walked over the pedestrian who was trying to get up and kicked him so viciously he looked like he was out cold.

What made me mad was that immediately afterwards the police said they had dropped charges against the driver due to lack of evidence. What made me even angrier was that two men standing close by made no effort whatsoever to help the guy.

OK, so a few days later News24 reported that the police had indeed reopened the case and would be using the video as evidence. Yeah right. Nothing like a bit of public pressure to make them think again.

But, I'm still mad. Why didn’t they just look at the evidence straight away? It was right there, clear as day.  What if there wasn't any CCTV evidence? My bet is that pedestrian who was eventually hospitalised, would not have stood a chance in hell of winning his case against the taxi driver. Because that's the way things are. The big powerful guys tend to win.

Sometimes I wonder just how much this kind of police inefficiency and the complete lack of policing adds to the anger of society.

When  we see someone clearly breaking the law without a worry in the world, I know the right thing to do is just to relax and take no notice. But, not many of us can.

We get steamed up when drivers intentionally break the law on the road putting lives in danger. We get steamed up when we hear of some guy being arrested and having his car confiscated for taking an undersize crayfish out the sea while at the same time a drunk driver who has just killed half a dozen people is let out on a ridiculously low amount  of bail.

I get particularly mad when I see wealthy or politically well-connected people dragging out criminal court cases for years or managing to be found not guilty on some tiny technicality while at the same time some poor, hungry wretch who steals a loaf of bread to keep his kids alive, gets locked up pretty much straight away.

I get even madder when I see people like taxi drivers arguing that they should be allowed to  speed, drive recklessly or use a spanner as a steering wheel because they are "entitled" to make a living.

In fact, nothing gets my goat more than "entitlement" being used as a reason to disregard the law.

I know that being presumed innocent until proved guilty is fundamental to civilised society and the justice system has to have procedures in place to protect the innocent from being wrongly convicted.

But, I can’t help feeling that somehow in South Africa we have gone beyond fair justice and have entered the realms of the politically correct.

The law enforcement and judicial playing fields don't appear level to many of us and this creates the perception that he bad guys have the advantage over the good guys.

But, what worries me most of all is that perceptions are growing in South Africa that the police aren't policing and the law is pretty much sitting on its fat arse with the result that the criminals are getting away with murder - quite literally.


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