Front-page sex and officers of the law

2011-08-17 00:00

LAST week we heard General Bheki Cele say that Desmond Tutu is not a “vice Jesus, not a deputy Jesus”, and tell other people to “shut up”. We thought we’d heard the last from the police then. But no, it was not to be, the Sowetan made sure of that.

The rap group, NWA, sang the now famous F... the police. They, naturally, didn’t mean that literally. What we saw in the Sowetan this week (or should I say the Scopewetan?) gave new meaning to these words.

I was not shocked by the fact that the officers in the photo in the Sowetan had sex. What I found shocking and unbelievable was the fact that the male officer, who works for the Department of Correctional Services, had a German haircut (sorry, white people, you won’t know what this is). Even though it’s named after white people, it’s a black hairstyle. It’s an unforgivable eighties’ haircut. It is criminal. Even Chicco, the inventor of that hairstyle, abandoned it years ago.

At least cops don’t just screw us, they screw each other as well. Which is comforting. A word of advice: don’t bribe cops with money, bribe them with condoms. I won’t lie, I was entertained and, of course, shocked that there was such a front page.

The Scopewetan newspaper published pictures of the two uniformed officers engaging in what Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa described as an “immoral act” and an “embarrassment to the uniform and badge of the police and that of correctional services”. The minister is not correct in calling sex an immoral act. There is nothing immoral about what they were doing. They shouldn’t have been doing it at work, while allegedly on duty. The two officers were supposedly meant to be guarding a suspect they had transported from a government hospital for a medical checkup at Leratong Hospital in Krugersdorp. Perhaps this is why the female officer, who worked for the South African Police Service (SAPS), was dismissed.

When I saw the minister’s words, I wondered if there would be considerations to reinstate the Immorality Act, which was passed by the apartheid government in 1950. The act banned sexual relations between whites and non-whites. This time, the act would ban sexual relations between officers.

What is immoral is the humiliation the officers have been subjected to as a result of the headlines and the fact that a video of the act was made publicly available. The correctional services officer, who reportedly recorded the act as “protection” in case the woman later accused him of rape, was dumb for collecting evidence against himself.

There are two things that were inappropriate about this story. First, the fact that the Scopewetan decided to put the story on the front page. Second, the fact that one person was dismissed and the other was probably forced to resign. These two poor people are now without jobs for engaging in these “immoral acts”. If every person who had sex with someone else other than his or her spouse was dismissed there would be many unemployed people in the country.

The officers should have been brought before some sort of disciplinary committee. There are police officers who have done far worse things who still have jobs.

The only reason the officers are not fighting their dismissal is probably due to the humiliation they feel right now. They can’t face their colleagues after this.

The thing that the minister should have asked is what is wrong with the force that has caused these officers to behave in this way? What is going on there? What are the pressures that these officers face on a daily basis that cause them to behave in such reckless ways? The choice of political grandstanding was made instead, a kneejerk reaction against people who don’t know how to defend themselves. Yes, they were wrong but what happened to them afterwards was worse.

May this be a warning to those people who make sex videos of themselves. No matter how careful you are with your material, your video could end up in the wrong hands. Say no to sex videos. If you have one, destroy it or we will be seeing you on the front page of the Scopewetan. — News

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