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.

  • JudithNkwe - 2012-03-12 08:06

    I can only agree wholeheartedly with you Chris

  • Vicky - 2012-03-12 08:12

    The cops are about as useful as a chocolate teapot - I experienced 4 break ins at my home last year, and there has been no effort at all to try and find those responsible. They seem to think that the human rights of the offenders are more importanat than mine - despite the fact that I pay thier salaries. Shocking attitude.

  • TheyTookMyNickLaZynEko - 2012-03-12 08:21

    You write the best articles on this website. They are quite sobering and on topic w.r.t pressing issues. If only our 'above the law' "leaders" understood the consequences of their pathetic actions.

  • Alice Mpholo - 2012-03-12 08:41

    i could not agree with you more. you are definetly on point, its actually sad that we live in a country like this. so much for South Africans being a united nation

  • Vaal-Donkie - 2012-03-12 08:51

    What's the point of getting involved when you know beforehand that the taxi-driver will get off scot-free? Maybe he recognises you in traffic tomorrow and deliberately runs you off the road. I won't take that risk, especially not if he is assaulting someone who is also a violator of the traffic laws.

      Zing - 2012-03-12 09:45

      Donkie, I would probably do the same as you. It's not worth risking injury for the sake of some loser, or is it? Sadly, we do the wrong thing by not getting involved, and if we don't get involved, we have no right to comment on the involvement of others. We need to change our mentality and start getting involved. Imagine how good it would have felt if you could have stopped that taxi-driver :)

      Vaal-Donkie - 2012-03-12 12:05

      If there's one traffic nuisance I detest as much as a taxi, it's those people who cross the street amidst flowing traffic and are totally oblivious to everything going on around them. Just this morning again a drunk man gingerly strolled off the pavement and in front of my car, gesturing at me to slow down when he realised what was about to befall him. I'll say it again: the only thing I regret about this incident is that the pedestrian didn't also get in a few punches. They BOTH deserve to be knocked unconscious. Justice was only 50% served on that day.

  • Jacqueline - 2012-03-12 08:56

    Kudos! I agree with everything you said Chris!! Finally, something almost all South Africans can agree on.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-03-12 10:18

    Spot on Chris, we live in a country were we have more to fear from government and the blue mafia than we do from criminals.

  • jfogwell - 2012-03-12 10:39

    We all need to become more and more involved in our country. All that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. If we keep doing nothing the quote will soon change to the on coined by Nicolas Cage's character in the movie Lord of War: "Evil Prevails"

  • Dean - 2012-03-12 12:26

    I agree with you 100% !! These taxi bastards must be removed from our roads. They are the cancers of our roads. Just this morning, i was involved in an incident with a taxi. I was the first car in the middle lane (straight only) at a red robot. On my left another lane going STRAIGHT only. On my right, a "right-turn-only" lane. A taxi pulled up on my right as many cars piled up behind me, who were also going straight. And i predicted to my wife that this taxi was going to try pull ahead of me as the lights went green. And i was right. I know from experience how these "cancer drivers" are. They always want to use the empty right-turn only lanes for going straight. So as he pulled away, he didnt realise the power of my GTI :) ... i drove next to him and hooted at him, basically forcing him into the oncoming traffic, so he had to stop and then try find another way back into the "straight" only lanes. Stupid cancerous driver. At the next robot he pulled up a few cars behind me and was waving "friendly" gestures my way, thanking me for putting him in his place. Pity that im probably the only person who will put him in his place today. Ive seen many other drives just let taxis have their own way on our roads. Thats why they continue to do it... because people are not standing up for their rights on our roads! Not me... i dont take K*K from taxi drivers!!

  • binarycape - 2012-03-12 13:25

    You are so right Chris, and the word entitlement has become misused. Further, if you feel entitled then you also should be feeling responsibility. The taxi industry is one of those groups who have political pull [read, holding 'someone' by the balls] and could give a stuff, because they know they can and will get away with anything. I was really glad that the taxi driver - who deliberately drove past a line of waiting cars at a level crossing, weaved his vehicle full of kids between the barriers and was hit by the oncoming train, got jail time, though not enough in my opinion.

      Dean - 2012-03-12 17:02

      The Taxi industry is a cancerous tumor that must be removed so that society can become fair and free of rage and frustration. Not to mention they are a completely illegal group who DONT pay TAXES on their income because all dealings are strictly cash, so MR SARS never sees/hears about the taxi industry's income!!!!

  • Drogo - 2012-03-12 15:50

    This kind of frustration is defenitely adding to the general feeling of discontent with this country. For sure, nothing would have happened to the taxi-driver if it was not for the cctv footage. The police has already withdrawn all charges. This kind of frustration leads to all kinds of other symptoms of aggression, like road rage, for instance.

      Dean - 2012-03-12 17:00

      i fully agree with you !!!! SPOT ON. This is the reason we have road rage. I myself have road rage when i see others committing blatant infringements on our roads. They get away with it and this frustration is the catalyst for road rage. We always see people getting away with this type of behaviour, yet when we "stray" over the limit by accident, the cops are always quick to pull us over.

  • Schalk - 2012-03-12 18:48

    You and many other people's problem is that you think people are inherently civilized!!

  • Pierre - 2012-03-13 20:28

    Chris, most of us feel the same way. 'Law enforcement' fails to act when they should but knows how to react when we take the law in our own hands.

  • Terry-Lee Heuer - 2012-03-15 11:35

    And the State won't prosecute the guys that were caught for the East Rand gang murders so they walk free??!!\r\nThe cops did their job here, but the justice system failed them the mind boggles

  • Gail - 2012-03-15 13:27

    Yay Chris. You are so right. The only entitlement that anyone should own is they are entitled to claim responsibility for their actions. Which sadly is not how it works in the good old SA.

  • Gail - 2012-03-15 13:29

    I take my hat off to the young man in Pretoria who reported the jailbreak yesterday. But I do think the media are gambling with his life putting him on TV. But more power to him - make him Chief of Police. Then he will have protection. At least he did something when he saw something strange going on.

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