Friday, July 06, 2007

McBride and the innocent until guilty charade

It might well be that it was a pure co-incidence that the police officers who turned against Robert McBride after his alleged drunken driving incident, were arrested for driving with tinted windows this week. It might be that the police arrests thousands of people for this offence every week and that the poor officers just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

It is also possible, I suppose, that George W Bush will announce next week that he is firing Dick Cheney and pullimg all troops from Iraq.

But if I was a betting man, I would not be one to put even one Zimbabwean dollar on either of these scenarios being true.

Clearly, something fishy is going on. The officer has presumably been driving with tinted windows for some time. Why arrest him now? Why call McBride, the Metro Police Head, to the scene of the arrest? Any reasonable person will be hard pressed not to think that McBride is acting like the worst kind of school yard bully, victimising his colleagues because they ratted on him.

The mayor of Ekurhuleni gets it exactly wrong. News24 reports that the mayor, Duma Nkosi, has previously said that McBride is innocent until proved guilty "by credible institutions created by our democracy".

This case is rather similar to that of Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi, who has admitted to be a good friend of the alleged murderer of Brett Kebble.

In both cases a dark cloud hangs over a senior police officer. In both cases the credibility of the officer has been severely tainted. In both cases their supporters claim that they are innocent until proven guilty and that us normal people are therefore not allowed to have any opinion about them until such time as they are convicted in a court of law.

This might be true if these two were ordinary citizens. But they are not. They are public representatives charged with upholding the law. Even a whiff of scandal fatally compromises their integrity. They are innocent of a criminal offence until proven guilty, yes. But there is also a court of public opinion. In that court they have already been found guilty.

This makes it impossible for them to do their job properly. In order to protect their rights, they should both be suspended until a full investigation into their alleged nefarious activcities have been completed. If this full and independent investigation then finds that they are both angels, fine, they are cleared and can return to work. If not, they must be fired.

It is sad how public representatives hide behind the innocent until proven guilty mantra to escape all forms of public accountability. They do not understand that in a democracy public officials are accountable to the masses of the people.

And public accountability cannot only be about whether one has been convicted of a crime. Many people who have never been convicted of a crime is unfit for public office. To suggest that as long as one has not been convicted one is fit for public office no matter what one has done or is alleged to have done is an insult to us ordinary people who have a right to accountable public officials.

It suggests that the bar for public officials are set so low that any charlatan and conniving bully can become a police commisioner as long as he or she is never succesfully convicted of a crime. If we use that measure PW Botha, Magnus Malan, Wouter Basson, and George W Bush for that matter, should all have been fit to be public officials in South Africa.

And I thought we were fighting against this kind of lack of public morality.


Anonymous said...

Brilliantly put. That is exactly what it is, a charade. Having recently dealt with that other useless, incompetent state institution, The South African Revenue Services, I can tell you that the official attitude when dealing with us non-criminal, non-connected, law-abiding, citizens, is 'guilty until proven innocent'. Jonn

Anonymous said...

I agree! Well said and so true. Sad, but true...

Anonymous said...

A convicted and confessed murderer and terrorist made Chief of the Metropolitan Police. Welcome to Africa...

Pierre de Vos said...

I amn not a fan of McBride but calling him a terrorist seems to reveal quite a lot about your political views. He could only be a terrorist if the apartheid government was seen as a legitimate government. But it was not as it was not democratic and as it ruthlessly persecuted its opponents. Planting a bomb to resist this is surely no different from bombing Berlin or Dresden in the second world war?

Anonymous said...

Not to mention what your comments say about your views, Pierre:

Firstly McBride, demonstrating his cowardly nature still apparent today, bombed innocent civilians and not government troops. Are you saying it alright, today, for disgruntled whites to start bombing black establishments? That is a bit sick, don’t you think?

Secondly, which government is the most legitimate, the one that openly declares its standpoint or the one that masquerades as a ‘democratic’ government but ruthlessly persecuted a minority race group (i.e. whites) through racist, anti-white legislation and other means which you will deny because the ‘government is innocent until proven’ guilty?

C’mon Pierre, why the sudden bigotry, or did your boss ‘kak’ you out?


Pierre de Vos said...

It is not immediately apparent what the democratically elected South African government is doing to ruthelessly persecute minorities in South Africa. In fact the Bill of Rights protects minorities against such persecution. As a member of a minority in South Africa I am perplexed by your comments because it seems to me we never had it so good... The economy is booming, we have a free and open society in which freedom of speech is guaranteed, strong currency, entrenched Bill of Rights and much more. Unlike apartheid South Africa in which people were tortured and murdered by the state and we were not even allowed to hear the views of a person like Nelson Mandela or read books by DH Lawrence.

Anonymous said...

You forgot (selectively?) to comment on my comments below:

“Firstly McBride, demonstrating his cowardly nature still apparent today, bombed innocent civilians and not government troops. Are you saying ………………………………………………..”

The key issue in your editorial was about McBride and his ilk, right?

Anti-white racist legislation? AA, BEE, The Land Restoration Act, The PIE Act, The Pref Procurement Act, The Employment Equity Act and many others, all of which are aimed at punishing the current generation of whites for the actions of the previous gov and all of which are in conflict with the Bill of Rights. Or is it to protect the 50 million blacks from the evil actions of the half a million economically active whites?

The reality: Small biz tax stands at about 120%. Violent, bloody, murderous, crime is at its highest ever. Billions are lost through Gov corruption and incompetence. Unemployment and poverty are at horrendous levels. The next ‘President’ who stands to be ‘democratically’ elected by the ill-educated, propaganda and tribalism-driven masses is a lust-driven socialist incapable of managing even his own financial affairs, spending millions of taxpayers money NOT to have his day in court.

The whites “who have never had it so good” are leaving the country by the millions. Maybe they are not so good at kissing ANC butt.


Africannabis said...

Oh that's funny people - you think you live in a democracy!!!!!!!!

Bwa HAR hAR hAR!!!!!

did you forget chickens cross the floor in South Africa...

So what's democratic about someone pissing my vote away?

I'm still very VERY VERY Confused about the application of democracy in South Africa.

The Apartheid system is as democratic as our current one!

The spin is just different.

I can NOT accept the logic behind anything that describes South Africa'a political situation as democratic!

That's juts BULLSHIT!

Political parties piss away their voters loyalty annualy.

Africannabis said...

OOoooooo the Special Assignment interview was precious - my mother and I are concerned about this blacking out while driving thing - we both think he should stop driving....

it's dangerous for the rest of us.

Africannabis said...

Damn - mother's dyslexia caught up. It was on 3rd degree - on etv.

Anonymous said...

Africannabis, yours is the voice of reason in a very sick, PC Liberalist society.

Personally, I’m getting extremely tired of the total lack of morality, honour and truthfulness exhibited by these ‘leaders’ of ours. Does McBride want the rest of the SA police force to behave like he does? Or maybe they do already, because they have the sterling examples of Charles(hear no evil), Jackie(see no evil) and himself(do no evil).

Does Zuma want the rest of the 50 million blacks to go around raping women because they ‘dress in an enticing way’, or do they already, judging by the 200 000 rapes per year we are experiencing. Would he want other politicians to go around preaching alleviation of poverty while they themselves piss out R 14 million of taxpayers money on legal fees because they cannot control their urges.

There is a troop of monkeys on my farm and watching them the other day thru the binocs, I could pick out a number of our great leaders, right there, on my farm, in the mountains.

South Africa has indeed become, Planet of the Apes.


Pierre de Vos said...

John, it is shocking that you equate the bad behaviour of one person (McBride or Zuma)with a whole racially defined group and then call them all baboons. I do not like to call people names, but let's face it, this is naked racism at its worst. It is deeply ironic that some people who claim the ANC is obsessed with race then go around and make generalisations about people explicitly or implicitly based on their race. If you wanted to get away from race and racism, you would have to make individual judgments about people - not about "these people" or "them". There are no "them" - there are only "us". Some of us are good people and some are bad (some white, some black)and we should have the courage to judge each individual based on his or her abilities, not on the supposed group he or she belongs to.

This is why it is so difficult in South Africa to criticise people - those who agree and those who disagree often both think that you are not talking about a person but a group ("them"). When I criticise McBride I criticise McBride, not "the government" or "them". To do the latter would be deeply irrational and racist. Get over yourself and please don't write racist things on my Blog.

Africannabis said...

I hearJohn – I think you are off on your observations of a troop of monkeys / baboons. 1st off they are well adapted and experienced in being monkeys or baboons.

They are a social grouping with one in charge the others living in harmony. Power struggles are sorted out between opponents without involving the rest of the troop.

I think Pierre is correct that you are perhaps being a bit “with one brush” painting a picture of “them” or “those people” and then adding a skin colour.

I would like to point out though that (excluding skin colour; it’s as important to this topic as any of our sexualities) in this particular discussion we CAN say them.

Those people in charge with BADGES. The badges that give them the authority to serve and protect.

So now let me clarify more:
Don Selebi – top Interpol Cop and top SA COP – IE WORLD COP - to us.
Bobby Blackout-Bomber-McBride – Top EhruKolenhee Cop (hey if my surname can’t be spelt correctly then I don’t feel the urge to find the correct spelling of something I can barely say)

And of course I’ll leave the gardening-fabricating-retainer high court judge commentary to those in the field…

My Comment in this regard is about the justice system from inception to incarceration = you people.
Dodgy Politicians making strange unenforceable laws; followed by dodgy people enforcing the laws; the criminal justice system is fraught with corruption by those in charge…

I don’t like the fact these dodgy people who aren’t really cut out to be what they are – unlike a monkey or a baboon – in positions of power that affect my wellbeing. Because as one might guess I have a beef with the lot of “these people” because of a plant…

However my tax money – YES JOHN – is being pissed down the Justice system by “Those people” with badges with silly laws and big prisons (I recently saw a picture of a POLICE Hummer in Johannesburg) – that don’t address the issues at hand, or come up with cock-a-mammy plans to combat a problem they are unqualified to understand or deal with.

For example would you let ANYONE drive at HIGH Speed with a flashing Blue light weaving in and out of traffic because ‘of an alleged “threat” to life and limb’ – especially when knowing that in the past six months this self admitted diabetic and black-out-sufferer is behind the wheel?

I hope you wife and children are not in a car on the road on the way home from school.

Because then I’d really be taking the piss out of baboons being fit and able to pilot a combustion engine.

But I think in this country - in this instance - in this discussion - - Those people - - to me are those making laws, enforcing laws, judging and incarcerating offenders, and Bobby believes in the process!


Anonymous said...

Freudian slip, de Vos? My postings very specifically refer to McBride, Zuma, Charles and Jackie and to people with a “total lack of morality, honour and truthfulness". I did not refer to any particular race being baboons or to “them”. You don’t even know if I am a white man or black, or coloured, for that matter.
The inferences you draw are from your own well-hidden, deep-seated prejudices and perceptions. What is shocking is that anyone teaching law to impressionable young minds can have such a poor grasp of the facts, but then, the saying goes: “those that cannot do, teach.”
What you are doing is acting in accordance with your stereotype , that very stupid, dangerous, uninformed, self-serving, boring individual with a limited intellect, the PC Liberal. The pattern is:
1. The PC Libber loudly advocating ‘freedom of speech”, aggressively attacks someone else’s point of view.
2. Because PC libber statements are generally emotive, speculative, crap, based largely on PC groupspeak, someone will inevitably pull the Libber up and prove him wrong.
3. The Libber do not respond under any circumstance ever admitting that he is wrong.
4. Then, when the PC Libber feels he has detected some socially unacceptable blunder on the part of the other person, allegations of racist being the most common one, the PC Libber hurls ‘righteous’ abuse, frothing at the mouth.
5. Shortly thereafter the Libber is shown up again for a fool and promptly cuts off all communication.

My man, there are massive holes in the weak arguments you tried to put up, to wit, the truth is: South Africa is not a democracy, neither are most of the other countries in Africa. McBride was a terrorist who bombed innocent civilians and there is no ‘US’ in SA, the government with their relentless persecution of whites through the legal system amongst, other things, is making that impossible.
Today, in this once beautiful country, now a third world banana-republic, people like you have a responsibility towards truthful, responsible, reporting and taking issue with those who are driving this country into the cesspit . Try and do this and forget about covering your but and brownnosing, remember, respect is something that must be earned. You will not get it sprouting PC psychobabble and hurling emotional abuse in the place off well-reasoned, factual arguments.

Here's a challenge, stop the insults and take me on in a debate on any of the statements which I have made in response to your 'comments', and publish it to your students.

Africannabis said...

"The three officers and civilian officers have told the police that McBride was drunk when he crashed his state-owned car on December 21 - an allegation he has denied. It is also now known that the three men are under police investigation for an incident relating to a cash-in-transit robbery.

McBride, meanwhile, said he was thrilled that the legal process had started, one way or another."

... as u 'n boef wil wees moet u 'n badge kry!...

Pierre de Vos said...

Really, I am not going to argue with you whether South Africa is a democracy when every international institution, every human rights body, and the Index on democracy all confirm this. It is like arguing with President Mbeki about whether HIV causes Aids..... The Economist (not a left wing or PC magazine) placed South Africa 29th on its democracy Index in 2007.

Anonymous said...

I give you pages and pages of factual, well-reasoned arguments, I challenge you to a debate, and some lame duck cop-out is all you can come up with, Professor?

It is obviously a waste of my time to comment on this blog so you will not hear from me again.

Seriously though. The conventional legal system is a mess, the attorneys and magistrates involved in the system have made it so. Justice has no place in the conventional legal system, only those who are best able to manipulate the system, motivated by money, fame or whatever, benefits. It is really very SICK.

Many of us welcomed Constitutional Law because it was a fresh, untainted approach. But we need people now who can apply the system for the benefit of those who need it, i.e. The Innocent. Not for those with the money and the high-priced, unscrupulous attorneys, i.e. The Guilty.

We need smart, innovate freethinkers who are not scared to challenge this young Constitutional System and mould it towards righteousness; otherwise it will for ever become what it is heading to be now, i.e. a convenient cop-out for the guilty and a convenient tool to punish the whiteys.

Walk your, occasional courageous talk, de Vos, break out of your staid academic mould, and make a difference. That will earn respect and probably, a place in the history books. You might just play your part in saving this country which you purport to care about.


Africannabis said...

Pierre - There are people with marriage certificates and children and social circles and many people private and public who would describe them as straight.

Doesn't mean they are - or that this is a democracy.

Africannabis said...

It's floor-crossing time again...

The season of horse-trading, backstabbing and political infighting has opened as politicians at all government levels prepare for the new floor-crossing period that opens on September 1.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Ok Prof, let's get talking about real democracy...:

In the early '90's I voted "Yes" the first time I voted. I recall it was in the Referendum.

I voted “Yes” because a new age had dawned globally where the value of life became more important that it had been for many generations before. I voted "Yes" for an open and transparent democracy, one that would lift the democratic bar, and treat all of it's citizens with deference and respect.

I voted for change for the good the country my children and I would be living in for many years to come.

Let’s be clear here…I never voted "Yes" because I was scared of the future…but because I was enticed by its potential. I was never scared by the ANC’s antics, they were always amateurs in a big man’s game…we could have kept on fighting them for years…and quite frankly we hadn’t even started getting really nasty yet…but we were better than that…we chose not to go down that route…because we were better than that…!

I was a child from a new generation...and I believed the NP and the ANC at Codesa when they said that they would protect human and constitutional rights for all its citizens and make South Africa a country of which we could be justifiably proud...!

So I voted "Yes" for change in the Referendum...and of course the rest is history...!

I bought the statement that South Africa would be so progressive that we would be trying cases in our Constitutional Court that other Western, more developed democracies still had to try in their courts. I bought the vision that we would be setting global Constitutional case precedents that other nations Constitutional Courts would look to for guidance.

After all...what was constitutionally ethical was to be embraced by our new black leaders…and of course we all know that what is ethical is far right of what is legal.

Boy what a mistake I made...:

Why, you ask?

Well Prof, let's start at the beginning of this great Constitutional history of which you so proudly speak in your pontifications, and I’ll use my own experience to illustrate:

My company sent me overseas shortly after 1994. The next election came around and what happened...? Well, you’ve guessed it. South African’s living abroad were not allowed to vote. The ANC/govt (they are after all one and the same in this country) said that providing voting stations at all of the South African Consulates abroad would be too expensive…so they decided to scrap the vote for South African’s abroad…!

So, here we have the first big step taken by these great leaders/intellectual giants/guardians of modern democracy which you so loudly praise. Their first meaningful constitutional step was to actually remove the right to vote of hundreds of thousands of its citizens.

A few months later, they proudly tell us that they have just spent R50bln buying toys for the military to play with.

Now maybe you can correct me if I am wrong here Prof, but the last time I looked at my Constitutional Law 101, the right to vote was the single most important constitutional right which a citizen “owned”. Clearly, the ANC felt that military hardware that they can sport around Africa in front of their mates, was more important than my constitutional right to vote. If you ask me…that’s the first red flag (so to speak) about just how much the ANC really think our new Constitution is really worth!

As we know, many South African who left during the apartheid era, were certainly no supporters of the previous regime…but guess what…the NP whom you despise so much as “Constitutional criminals”, at least had the “democratic balls” to give their detractors the right to vote against them, even when they lived abroad! Funny that…because…for the NP, even with no Bill of Rights, for those it chose to give the vote, it actually has a better track record than the current government which is guided by an over-arching Bill of Rights which actually enshrines that right to vote…! How did that happen…?

Not content to do it once, they show me the middle-finger again a few years later again, but this time they have been more cunning…! This time they say that South Africans abroad can vote…but they fail to give the full detail…! They fail to state openly that only allow those outside the country temporarily to vote…! They even set up a hot-line with the IEC, to ask questions about if you were entitled to vote or not…! Should that even be a question…? Do we even need a Hotline for that…?

However…back to my story….I do not qualify for those time restrictions because I’ve been abroad for quite a number of years by now helping to build the international arm of a South African domiciled company, which just happens to pay tax in South Africa (just as do I). So…sorry for dat…!!!

Not content with that, the ANC’s opponents rightly take this bit of political chicanery to the Constitutional Court to challenge what can only be called a constitutional travesty.

However…one small problem arises…! The ANC have just packed the Constitutional Court with its political buddies…and guess what…these liberal, progressive, free-thinking judicial master-minds of the Constitutional Court (and the ultimate arbiters of the courts in general) managed to interpret (and I quote the Bill of Rights here) “…every adult South African citizen has the right to vote in elections…” as meaning that “…any South African citizen who has been abroad for more than several months is now no longer to vote…!”

I can only surmise that the corollary to this is that…”any South African who has been abroad for more than several months is now: (a) no longer a citizen of this republic…”, or “(b) “ now longer an adult…”, hence he no longer enjoys that constitutional right. Please…correct me here if I am wrong…!

You’ve got to just love it don’t you…! The first challenge they get given, the ANC’s packed Constitutional Court, flings it’s collective constitutional wisdom off a cliff…and dashes any integrity it may have had against the rocks of political incompetence and interference. (Maybe it was as smple as someone calling them and reminding them who had chosen them for those positions in the first place, and flighted the idea that it wasn’t necessarily based on judicial competence! Or maybe they were just reminded how expensive it was to send their kids to a decent public school nowadays seeing as demand is now so high from politicians and their families.)

So, now tell me Prof…:

If you support our current government, our Constitution, and our constitutional checks-and-balances so passionately…maybe you can explain to me, in simple and concise terms, (because I am a simple man), exactly where my constitutional rights suddenly vanished to (twice) when I was outside the country…and then maybe you can take some time to explain to this poor schlepper writing this letter to you, why suddenly they reappear now that I am back in the country?

I’m sorry to say…but it looks like I made a grave error (and I’m not afraid to say I made a mistake), when I voted “Yes” in the Referendum.

I can only conclude that before voting I should have paid more attention to African history than I did to that wonderful Constitutional Law professor, Prof Dugard…! (But then again…the way the ANC treated him…I think he’s probably coming around to the same way of thinking wherever he is now…and I’m willing to put money on it…it’s not in South Africa!)


This is the first in an installment of questions I have for you, and I look forward to hearing your reply.

In fact Prof., as a South African who contributed to this country’s democracy by casting my vote the way I did, I am offended by the fact that I even have to seek an answer to my question…!

PS - Please do not take offence at my sarcasm…! You see…it’s just that I have been around a little…and I pay attention to some of these matters….especially when they affect me directly…and quite frankly Prof…no-one, and I mean no-one has been able to set my mind at ease about this, namely, the most basic, and simple Constitutional law affecting me, regarding the current dispensation’s constitutional behaviour. (And yes…it is all about me…because that’s who the Constitution is ultimately for…!!!)

Before answering, maybe you should sit back with a nice glass of that Meerlust Merlot that senior academics can afford nowdays, and tell me Prof….: would you relish the opportunity to stand up before your European Constitutional Law peers, and explain just why we have such a great Constitution…and why they should pay attention to the rulings we pass in our Constitutional Court…and then in the same breath try and defend the current government/Constitutional Court’s behaviour w.r.t. the above matter that I have raised…?

I fear it’s not a baton that you would gladly like to run with…after all, you’re a legal academic, not an academic kamikaze.

The only things academics have to separate them from their law practicing peers is their independence, their integrity, their objectivity and their attention to detail…and of course the fact that no paying client is encouraging them to bend the interpretation of the rules. So by my way of thinking, that by supporting the above Constitutional Court’s actions, you would only serve to show a real lack of objectivity and independence, and a lack of desire to see a truly world-class Bill of Rights implemented in a truly world-class manner.

Even if they got religion, and changed their behaviour (past and present, but that’s for another Blog), I fear too much damage has already been done to the Constitutional Court and the country’s credibility for anyone to take us seriously in future.

If you agree with even half of these sentiments that I have flighted, then maybe you should ask yourself, how in heaven’s name can I even start defending the current government’s constitutional behaviour in any shape, manner or form?


ConstoVom (because I get sick every time I think about the current government’s lack of constitutional integrity and their disregard for basic constitutional rights)!

Anonymous said...

Hi ConstoVom, I really enjoyed your e-mail. Are we the only ones with the courage to say it like it is? However, I doubt that the professor will answer us, he now appears to be at stage 5 of the stereotyped behaviour for PC Libbers, as per one of my previous posts, I quote:

“5. Shortly thereafter the Libber is shown up again for a fool and promptly cuts off all communication.”

Your comments about the Constitution are well founded. Here are some more paradoxes that would be amusing if it were not so sick and destructive. The Bill of Rights says:

9. Equality
3. The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth

So, how, is it then possible to have laws such as Affirmative Action, Black Economic Empowerment, The Employment Equity Act, The Land Redistribution Act, etc.etc.etc., which clearly discrimination against whites and which are clearly anti-white racist?

Now therein lies the rub. For clarity read the next pearl of wisdom:

2. legislative and other measures designed to protect or advance persons, or categories of persons, disadvantaged by unfair discrimination, may be taken.

So now the law contradicts itself and says that the Bill of Rights only applies to Blacks as they were “disadvantaged by unfair discrimination.”

The Constitution is full of these little gems giving the gov the right to thoroughly persecute the current generation of whites, who were still in diapers at the time, for the perceived wrongful actions of some politicians a long time ago.

And the Professor, frothing at the mouth, alleges: ”the Bill of Rights protects minorities against such persecution.”

Does the Professor actually know the Constitution, I ask myself? Well let’s see how he answers you, and me for that matter, but I wonder if he will have the cojones to take me on?


Anonymous said...

Hi Prof...I just wanted to clarify one thing to underpin my argument by posting a quote discussing who and who are not allowed to vote when abroad...:

"Under the Constitution all citizens over 18, if registered on the common voter's roll, may vote. The Electoral Act was recently amended to broaden the scope of voters abroad, following an uproar by various opposition parties who argued that voting is a fundamental right of all South African citizens wherever they may live. South African government officials, students and holiday makers living abroad at the time of the 2004 general election will now be allowed to vote, but not those who are working abroad."

South African's WORKING abroad pay tax on GLOBAL income...! Hence they offer more to this country than those in (a) prison; (b) students studying abroad. Why is the government so selective...? The answer can only eb that they are actively seeking to disenfranchise those that they choose to not allow to vote...!

Since when did it become an excuse to disenfranchise a LARGE group of citizens merely because it complex and expensive exercise...?

Pierre de Vos said...

See my latest post for a response to all these comments.