Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Another request for amnesty….

Some time back, through the tough negotiated settlement that was CODESA, a Faustian pact was made that has set an irrecoverable precedent for this dear land of ours.

Somehow, through this process it was established that if it could be shown that if the commission of a crime could be explained with reference to a political motive then the crime was justified and the perpetrators would be duly exonerated.

So we were treated to some of the most heart-rending reality TV ever broadcast as atrocity after atrocity was first relived and then with varying degrees of success the perpetrators attempted to justify their actions. If the justification appeared honest and complete then that perpetrator’s slate was wiped clean.

So we have calls now for the slate of Jacob Zuma to be wiped clean so that we can move forward as country and sidestep the political nightmare that currently faces us. The so called “ARMS DEAL AMNESTY”.

When does this stop?

If it is considered expedient to indemnify folk for “justified” past “mistakes” why do we not extend this to all criminal activity?

Why does a political motive, or political expediency have some moral high ground over an economic motive, or crime of passion for that matter?

Is it not perhaps an economic motive (to feed one’s starving family?) that is more noble that a political one. Or for that matter the heartsore feelings and subsequent actions of a crossed lover?

Do we then introduce into a court’s, not a test of right or wrong, but a test of circumstance? If your circumstances justify the crime in any way then thou shalt be kept out of jail.

We can’t stop it.

The pact with the devil has been made, we can’t reverse it.

We did it before, for political expediency and to avert a bloodbath and it gave us 10 years or so of stability, which is a lot to ask of any African land.

Sometime back, I quoted the ANC president’s stance on crime with some admiration:

“In a country without the death penalty, the laws must bite”.

Once in a while, however, that bite needs to be of the toothless kind, a mere shake of the gums that loses its hold. So then, I agree, as much as it galls me, with Max Du Preez: Let us do it again for Mr Zuma, grant him amnesty.

For we need to avert the bloodbath again and let us get on with the more important things in our land. Addressing poverty and violent crime.

1 comment:

VallyP said...

Hi Guy, I know I am more than a month late here in response to your post. During that time, my daughter has given up the fight to foresee a good future in SA and has come here. She hopes to find a job soon so that her husband, a South African citizen can join her.

On the one hand I am very sad about her lack of confidence, and her own disinclination to give me Zuma 'amnesty'. On the other, I understand fully the desire of someone embarking on life after studies to try things out in a country where there is less of a struggle to make a decent and safe life. Deep down, though, I wish she had wanted to stay. There are probably far too many others like her who are leaving.