Dear Mrs Zille,
Since you became the leader of the DA, I have been a dedicated supporter of your cause, of what you fight for every day, and of the change you have brought about in the Western Cape especially. But today I am disappointed and felt I needed to bring it to your attention. The DA have always been the voice of reason in parliament, I could always read the newspapers or watch some parliament on tv, and I would always agree with the statements made, and feel that you were the only politicians who made sense in between all the nonsense that spews from the government every day.
But yesterday this sense flew out the window, and was replaced by cheap politicking, just like every other political party trying to climb onto the cheap and easy bandwagon that has driven in in the wake of the Marikana disaster. I agree that someone should be held accountable for the shootings, but I am incredibly disappointed that the fingers that have been pointing to every area, from the ANC to the police force and the minister of police, to Zuma, to Phiyega, to Lonmin, have missed the obvious culprits. Only in very few cases has anyone bothered to look at NUM and Amcu, where this issue started. But NOBODY, not one single politician, has bothered having a look at the armed, violent and dangerous miners. Nobody has demanded accountability for the brutal killings of 2 policemen and 2 security guards. Even in the media it is a side note that these law enforcers were brutally murdered. Are we implying that these miners do not have their own minds, that they cannot be held accountable for their own actions?
I am not surprised by this, really. After all, in South Africa everyone has rights and responsibilities enshrined in our constitution. Only, criminals have more rights and less responsibilities than tax paying, law abiding citizens. You can see that on our roads every day, where taxis can do anything they want while the law abiding citizens’ lives are placed in danger, both the passengers in the taxis and the other people on the roads. Or when somebody breaks into your house, you are not allowed to threaten them or hurt them, definitely not kill them, because then you will be in trouble, even though you are just protecting your family and belongings. Farm murders are rife, but nobody comments on that anymore, instead the focus is shifted to the “poor farm workers”. In South Africa, the message sent out every day is that the fact that you are not as wealthy as your government, or your educated boss, or the guy living in the mansion in Sandton, gives you the right to turn to violence. When you’re not happy with anything, turn to violence, that will solve it. That is demonstrated by strikers damaging property and threatening innocent people, and then getting their way, or by supporters of Malema destroying the CBD and never receiving justice. By robbers and murderers and corrupt officials and rapists receiving a special presidential parole. And now, by miners killing law enforcers, carrying dangerous weapons and threatening police, and yet when it turns ugly and they are killed because of it, suddenly they are innocent little angels and everybody needs to beg for forgiveness from them.
I am incredibly disappointed in the DA for not seeing this, for not taking the high ground, and, instead of asking for the heads of the police, rather asking for accountability for the lives of innocent people being lost because of miners who are unhappy. Instead of blaming the police for killing people after all other methods of controlling them had run out, ask why the crowd was armed, why they felt the need to attack the police, why they would not disperse even after rubber bullets were shot at them. And then, lastly, ask how we could avoid this happening ever again. I can promise you, the answer doesn’t lie with the police. The answer lies with the union workers (be they miners, public transport drivers, factory workers) being controlled by their unions. The answer lies with union leaders not allowing any of their members to ever be armed during a strike. The answer lies with a little bit of civilisation. But that is probably too much to ask in South Africa.
The message here is that the police were trying to disperse an illegal striking mob, armed with machetes and at least one gun, after they had already brutally murdered 2 of their colleagues. They had used all methods available to them, starting with barb wire which the mob moved around to get to the police, to water cannons and tear gas, to rubber bullets. Finally, when the mob charged and at least one person shot at the police, they had no choice but to retaliate. Tragic, yes, but whose fault is it really? Who would’ve begged for forgiveness if 34 policemen had been massacred instead? Why is everyone blind to the fact that the mob was definitely on a war path to attack the police?
Nadia De Lange
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