No need to slaughter the bull - Yet

2010-09-04 09:29

In the 2002 film, Road to Perdition, the 12-year-old son of hitman Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks), witnesses his father carrying out his duties.

It starts a chain of events that further reveal to the boy the dark side he never knew his ­father had.

As his father dies in the final scene of the movie, the boy says: “When people ask me if Michael Sullivan was a good man, or if there is just no good in him, I just tell them: ‘He was my father’.”

Such are human beings. We see more in our loved ones, good or bad, than the public does without our relations changing because of the bad we know.

So, for Springbok coach Peter de Villiers to come out backing “Bees” Roux, who allegedly killed Tshwane Metro ­Police ­officer ­Ntshimane Johannes Mogale (38), is only natural.

To criticise him for doing this is therefore to want Div to place public relations ahead of everyday human relations.

It would be asking Div what we do not ask of ourselves, assuming that we ­default towards believing in the ­innocence of our friends and loved ones unless the evidence that they are guilty is incontrovertible.

Div, I gather, has lost the support of some black fans because he has shown support for a white male who killed a black guy.

It is a pity if Div had support because of his blackness rather than what he knows about rugby.

It was to be expected, though. Race ­remains a dominant narrative and ­therefore the most predictable response.

It is a shortcoming of our society that makes us jump to convenient conclusions when dealing with complex matters.

Other than that a big white male may have killed a relatively smaller black guy, a lot about this case remains unresolved.

To reduce this to another farmer-kills-boy story is to be disingenuous.

If the deceased was taking Bees home, as suggested by the route taken, because he was for any sort of reason ­unable to drive, how was he going to get back to his own home?

What happened to Mogale’s colleagues and what did they do while their ­colleague was being assaulted mercilessly? Who bought a burger using Bees’s credit card after he had been taken into custody?

Are we not to ask these questions because we are black and a white man killed (as opposed to murdered) a black man?

It could be argued that if Div does not know Bees, he had no business ­supporting him and should have left this to his true friends and family.

I have a lot of sympathy for this view.

But going by what the coach was ­quoted as saying: “We definitely talked about Bees in a team context.

We feel for all South Africans and especially rugby players because a situation like this can happen to anybody.

It is a tragic ­situation and we wish it on nobody.

“The team supports him 100%, not on the deed but rather on the circumstances that led to the situation developing.”

Div was expressing more than a ­personal view and was certainly not ­condoning the killing.

I hope the courts will reveal the truth or close to the truth regarding what happened on that night.

If indeed Bees murdered Mogale, by all means he should get the stiffest sentence possible.

But that should not stop his friends and loved ones from continuing to support him and visiting him in jail if they wish to.

I can understand why strangers would want to slaughter Bees and convict him before he gets his day in court.

But frankly, I would rather have someone like Div, who will believe in my innocence unless there is any good reason to doubt it.

So hands off Div!

» ?Moya is the editor of The Witness ­newspaper 

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