Sello S Alcock
Sello S Alcock

Of machine-gun summoners and rugby-playing ‘killers’

I would normally give you a glimpse of my working-class-like life, and paint you a picture of my bus ride this morning and the catalyst for my tirade that is about to follow.

I would tell you about some DJ called Majota Khambule (aka Phat Joe) who, after hearing a story about a young man who was convicted (with three of his chummies) for the murder of a homeless black man, quickly jumped on the bandwagon.

I would tell you about how Majota decided to open the telephone lines, supposedly to canvass the voice of the people on the matter. I would then amuse you a little bit about how Majota had to get a briefing (on air, nogal!) from his sports presenter side-kick as he clearly had no flipping clue about what has now been dubbed the “Waterkloof Four” case. I would perhaps make excuses like Majota being rusty, perhaps, after a long exile from radio and the spotlight in general.

But I am not going to do that. As one reader pointed out last week, I do sometimes take time to make my points.

And I would not want yet another reader accusing me of self-gratification for sharing my “ontgroening” or initiation experiences at the hands of neo-Nazi wannabes.

So, then, let Gert van Schalkwyk play flipping rugby for the Pumas, will you? There, I said it!

The last time I checked, our legal system does allow one to appeal against a decision handed down by a court of law. And my understanding is that Van Schalkwyk is waiting for a decision from the high court on such an appeal.

As the cases of our AK-47-summoning leader and his convicted financial adviser demonstrate, our legal system does allow legal subjects to appeal against decisions.

It would seem that the legal system offers ample opportunity to do so before sticking one away.

If we are to be fair to Van Schalkwyk, we would give him the same treatment as we do for our double-speaking leader.

ANC president Jacob Zuma still holds public office, yet a cloud hangs over his head.

If the excuse we are going to give for him is that he is entitled to exhaust the legal routes available to him, even at the risking of perpetuating the perception that he is just trying to avoid having his day in court, then we should be equally giving Van Schalkwyk his chance to exhaust all the channels our legal system affords him.

And I therefore believe that we should be letting Van Schalkwyk get on with it until such time as he gets a chance to face up to the consequences of his actions.

As long as we are not going to ask Zuma to step aside from his public role, then we should leave the young man alone — for now, at least.

Yeah, I know you are going to say Van Schalkwyk has been convicted; sure, Zuma has not been convicted and therefore the presumption of innocence applies strongly in his case.

But has our legal system not afforded the man ample opportunity to go to every court in the country? And should South Africans not exert pressure on the man to step aside?

Look across the Atlantic and you will notice that a certain corruption-busting governor Spitzer recently quit his position after it was exposed that he had engaged in sex with prostitutes. A married man, nogal!

It would seem to me then that both men have a cloud hanging over them (and, yeah, Van Schalkwyk’s one is closer to a raging storm) and the only real difference between them is that one is still presumed to be innocent and is a public figure who loves having a debate on everything from the death penalty to labour policies.

The law should apply equally to all; I mean, it is bad enough that figures such as my namesake Jacob had taken steps to ask the courts to rule on a matter even before a charge sheet had been presented. Luckily sanity prevailed on this matter.

The other side of the coin is, of course, for South Africans to apply moral judgements equally and to have the moral conviction to ask both Van Schalkwyk and Zuma to remove themselves from any public role.

As my favourite rapper once said: “‘Nuff said.”