My colleagues and I were having a discussion about how judgmental and how easy it is for us as South Africans to conclude on a case without knowing all the facts and I asked the question that I wonder what was going to happen if South Africa had a jury to rule on cases. I am no lawyer, I do not know how jurors work, and all I know is from the movies and what I read in international newspapers.
My imagination started to wonder and I started thinking, imagine if we had the following as jurors:
I cannot say I know all about Zulus but the couple of Zulu friends and acquaintances I know never proved me wrong, we know them as very stubborn people, let us take Oscar’s case for argument sake, a Zulu juror after being presented with the information for the bail hearing without even considering the trial is on the way, the old man will be sitting there, arms folded and looking at Pistorius and thinking “Lo mfana uyas’jwayela yazi and usimoshela isikathi sethu, umbulele lom’twana mus, mxm (do not mind the spelling errors my Zulu friends)” (this boy thinks we are idiots and he is wasting our time, he did kill this child).
I am Pedi and I can tell you right now that we are a very compassionate group, one of my own Pedi people will be sitting there and thinking “ka Modimo tje tjona ke tja batho, ga mmolaya ka boomo bathong” (for God sake this is people’s doing, he didn’t kill her intentionally).We are at times a very naïve group, we always believe the best in people and blame it on “super natural” powers knowing clearly that they do not exist.
I will only be talking about the two cultures I know, the rest you will decide on your own but I can honestly say South Africa is not ready for a jury. Not because of the Zulus or Pedis, because it is what it is, Zulu’s and Pedi’s are just an example I felt I am safer to use. It will cause too much uproar and maybe, just maybe innocent people will be send to jail and guilty ones will go free. The other fact is that most South African’s are poor and corruption is everywhere including the fact that some people have less moral values. I believe that if you have money you can buy half of the jurors and get away with anything. We are a country that still has a very weak justice system, including the fact that most of our police investigation officers are not well equipped to carry high profile and complicated cases like Oscar’s. I shall bring the obvious, what do you expect from ordinary workers if we have corrupt leaders, clearly not providing enough training benefit their pursuits for reaping us off. I shall rest it there.